The council and housing associations in south east London and north Kent are struggling to find enough affordable homes for low-income households, according to new housing data.

Thousands of people remain on the waiting list to be placed in social and affordable housing. As of April 1, 2017, more than 33,000 applicants were waiting for social housing.

The number of people who were successful in securing affordable accommodation has also been declining in recent years.

Greenwich has it particularly rough, with more than 12,000 applicants waiting for housing and the number of people placed in housing decreasing by 50 per cent from five years ago.

When making housing decisions, councils and housing associations will assess a person's income, family status, and their connection to the borough, as well as other factors.

Two types of rented property are offered in social housing. Social rents are usually no more than 50% of the market rate and are set nationally. Affordable rents are significantly higher, generally between 60% and 70% of market rates, and are set locally. In Bexley for example, the majority of new housing offers, or 77%, were for social rent.

Social housing is managed by councils and housing associations, which are independent not-for-profit companies. Both are failing to build enough new homes to keep up with demand, and the figures show the most common reason for a social home becoming available was because the previous tenant had moved.

Nationally, housing associations and councils let 334,602 homes for below market rent in 2016-17, down from 374,586 a year earlier, a drop of 11%. This is the lowest level since records began in 2007.

The figures demonstrate a long term decline in the availability of social housing. According to analysis by the Chartered Institute of Housing, 150,000 homes for social rent have been lost in England since 2012.

Most of the losses were down to social homes being converted to affordable rent or being sold through Right to Buy, which allows tenants to cheaply purchase their home from the council.

Chief executive of the institute Terrie Alafat said: "For many people on lower incomes, the only truly affordable option is social rent. It is simply unacceptable that we are losing so many of our most affordable homes at a time when more and more people are in need.

"Government investment is still heavily skewed towards the private market. Our analysis shows that 79 per cent of the housing budget up to 2020/21 is directed towards private housing, with just 21% going to affordable housing. Rebalancing this budget, so that more money is spent on affordable homes, could make a big difference."