Local homelessness levels laid bare by Citizens Advice Enfield

A housing forum event last week heard how the borough was facing one of the worst situations in the whole country, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Edmonton Green Library
Edmonton Green Library

Citizens Advice Enfield has reported a 246% increase in homelessness in the borough over the last seven years.

Citizens Advice Enfield and Local Motion, a social justice group, ran a workshop on the housing crisis today (Thursday 28th) at Edmonton Green Library.

The forum was attended by people experiencing homelessness, individuals in temporary housing and hotels, and residents in “cramped” houses of multiple occupancy. Many of the attendees also suffered with serious health issues.

Nnenna Anyanwu, chief executive of Citizens Advice Enfield, said a series of these workshops would be running over the next three months.

She said: “We know there is a housing crisis, which is a national crisis and the system itself is broken and what we as organisations are trying to do is help people within a system that is not working.

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“We’re trying to see what suggestions we can get  to help change the system.”

Panos Bouras, who works in research and campaigns for Citizens Advice Enfield presented some statistics, emphasising that housing had become one of their “biggest issues”.

The most common issues residents called Citizens Advice for were benefits, housing and debt, he said.

Housing accounted for 20% of all issues raised by clients calling the service with over 4,700 cases between January 2023 and February 2024.

Panos said 35% of housing issues were in the private rented sector, and key issues raised were disrepair and suitability of accommodation.

He said there was a 246% increase homelessness in Enfield in the last seven years and the borough currently had the third-highest level of people living in temporary accommodation in the country.

A reported 3,600 households were living in temporary accommodation with only 550 social housing properties becoming available to let every year, which Panos said was “not a great deal of housing” for the demand.

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