Lewisham’s mayor and cabinet have approved a £5 million loan to buy homes to house the borough’s homeless and incoming refugee families.

This comes as more families become homeless in Lewisham, cabinet member for housing, Cllr Paul Bell said.

The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation has increased by 40 per cent since April 2014.

Council and social housing lets have also been decreasing, dropping by 43 per cent between 2010 and 2018, with 9,700 individuals and families on the Housing Register.

This figure is increasing annually.

“The mayor and cabinet will be aware of the continuing challenge posed by increases in homeless households in the borough,” Cllr Bell said.

“At the end of January 2019, there were 2,116 Lewisham households in temporary accommodation, of which 629 households were in nightly paid accommodation. This figure is actually now higher.”

Those not in nightly paid accommodation were housed in hostels and private rentals, he added.

The authority will also use the loan to buy homes to use as temporary accommodation for the 100 refugee families arriving before 2022.

“Further to our corporate plan the council has committed to resettle a further 100 families in addition to those we have already welcomed to the borough through the refugee resettlement program,” he said.

“As part of this, suitable accommodation has to be sourced and or identified for the families on their arrival.

“There is a substantial increase in the first phase on the resettlement program which saw 16 families resettled in the borough and requires a more comprehensive approach to housing procurement,” he added.

The loan is on top of the £20m already earmarked for in-borough accommodation.

Lewisham Council has plans to build 1,000 new social homes by 2022.