COMPLEX: Nero Ughwujabo
BLACK BRITONS are more likely to be homeless or live in overcrowded homes than their white counterparts, according to research carried out by the Runnymede Trust.
The independent race equality think tank launched its findings in Parliament on February 5 as part of its Race Equality Scorecard project.
It found that African Caribbean and Asian residents in the London boroughs of Kingston, Redbridge and Croydon were hardest hit.
In Croydon, almost half – 47 per cent – of homeless people are black. The black population in Croydon currently stands at 20 per cent. Homelessness applies to those who approach their local authority requesting social housing.
Runnymede also found that the percentage of homeless black households is almost twice the number of homeless white households (25 per cent).
Steve Reed, the Labour MP for Croydon North said: “These are truly shocking figures that reflect the high levels of deprivation among Croydon’s BME (black ethnic minority) community who predominantly live in the poorer north of the borough.
“Croydon Council has a duty of care to all its citizens and needs to focus on why our BME community is suffering disproportionately and what needs to change to put things right.
“A big part of the problem is high levels of poverty, which is why we need much more emphasis on bringing in new jobs to tackle high levels of unemployment, along with tougher controls on rogue landlords in the private rented sector.”
The Runnymede Trust believes the disproportionate levels of homeless black people in context was due to the increasing fear among Britons of being unable to pay their rent or mortgage.
Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of Croydon BME Forum, said the matter was a serious and growing concern.
He said: “We know that the problem of overcrowding is much more complex and we will continue to work with the council on its strategy for increasing the number of 3 to 4 bedroom accommodation in the borough.”