It would take 10 years to get everyone waiting for housing in Lewisham homed if no one else was added to the list, according to a new report.  

The report on the Annual Lettings Plan, approved last week at a mayoral meeting via conference call with the cabinet, sets out how the council intends to divvy up homes for let in 2020/21.  

There are currently just over 9,500 households on the housing register – 8,776 have been on it for over six months.  

A Freedom of Information request earlier this year showed that more than 2,000 people on the list for a permanent home in Lewisham have been waiting a decade or more.   

Of those waiting between three and ten years, 65 per cent have been waiting three or more years, while 47.5 per cent have been waiting five years or more, and 23.3 per cent have been waiting a decade or more.   

According to the report, which projects that 860 homes will be available to let in 2020/21, “based on current projections, and with no additional applications to the housing register, it would take over ten years for all applicants on the register to receive a property”. 

Cabinet member for housing Councillor Paul Bell said Lewisham is “facing the severe effects of a housing crisis”.  

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable and decent place to live, which is why one of this administration’s top priorities is to deliver more social homes for local people.  

“We are delivering the largest social home-building programme in the borough in a generation, as fast as we can.  

“We know that there is currently not enough social housing available in Lewisham for everyone who needs it, and the number of social homes available to let is decreasing each year.  

“This year there were less than 1,000 social homes to let.  

“At the same time there are nearly 10,000 families on our housing register and around 2,300 who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation.  

“The council is responding in a number of ways to the housing crisis, including delivering new homes for those in greatest need, procuring social homes through the market, and intervening to protect people at risk of homelessness,” he said. 

The report stated that number of homes becoming available had fallen by six per cent between 2014 and 2019.  

It also detailed the number of homes delivered in 2018/19, and the position for the first nine months of 2019/20 from April 1 to December 31. 

The ALP for 2018/19 projected that 1,208 homes would become available to let, but in the end 1,150 did, of which 187 were new builds.  

“The slight shortfall is largely due to a number of anticipated new build schemes not completing in 18/19,” according to the report.   

581 homes were allocated between April and December last year.  

“It is expected that this decrease in available re-lets will continue,” according to the report, which said that priority will be given to “those most in need”.  

These include people in “unsuitable and costly temporary accommodation”, those who are suffering because of overcrowding, or those in homes too big for them. 

The council will also focus on moving single vulnerable people on from supported accommodation to independent housing, and moving households into regenerated estates, according to the report.  

“Demand for homelessness assistance has remained high in recent years.  

“Lewisham Council has accepted an average of 700 households as homeless every year since 2014/15.  

“This, combined with a lack of supply, has led to an increasing numbers of households in Temporary Accommodation (TA) each year.  

“Since 2010/11 the number of households in TA has more than doubled.  

“The proposed ALP allocates a large number of lettings to homeless households to help to manage the continued high level of homelessness,” according to the report.   

There were 2,370 households in temporary accommodation in December 2019, an increase of 84 per cent compared to March 2013 and a 12 per cent increase from December 2018. 

More than 280 homes will go to families in temporary accommodation in 2020/21.