Housing Corporation study finds two out of three families in temporary accommodation live in the capital

Prospective tenants in London could wait up to 11 years for a home if social housing were distributed on a first come first served basis, a new report has said.

The study from the Housing Corporation and the Chartered Institute of Housing said long waits for homes were caused by a drop in the number of people moving out of social housing.

Two out of three homeless families in temporary accommodation in England live in London, the report found.

Over 60,000 homeless families now live in temporary accommodation in the capital. In 2005/06, 47% of new social lettings made to homeless families in temporary accommodation in London – double the rate for the rest of England.

Over a fifth of households in social housing are overcrowded with black and Bangladeshi families the most affected. However, overcrowding is more acute in the private rented sector where 27% of households are overcrowded and nearly 4% of households severely overcrowded.

According to the report, overcrowded households experience long and unsatisfactory waits in the private and social sector before being allocated adequate social housing.

The report also showed the proportion of tenants who receive housing benefit is lower in London at 16% compared to 19% in the rest of England.

Despite the disadvantages of temporary accommodation in London, many households were reluctant to move into growth areas such as Thames Gateway citing concerns about whether the areas would deliver good quality housing and amenities or provide a sense of community.

The report recommended that intermediate rented housing could be developed further to meet the needs of those on moderate incomes who cannot pay market prices but could afford less heavily subsidised rents. It also recommended increasing the amount of re-lets by improving schemes and incentives for those willing to move out of the city.

A spokesperson from the London Housing Federation said: “There is a severe shortage of affordable housing in London so people on modest incomes inevitably end up in temporary accommodation. The government needs to stick with its targets for building more affordable quality housing in London.”