Families on the housing waiting list are being sent as far away as Cambridgeshire – 85 miles from their former South London homes. 

At least one resident in need of a home was sent to live in Huntingdonshire by Lewisham Council.

Other people were sent to towns in the home counties, hours away from the South London borough, such as Bedford in Bedfordshire and Stevenage in Hertfordshire.

The figures were revealed following a Freedom of Information request to Lewisham Council by the Local Democracy Reporting Service. 

One family has been living in temporary accommodation a two-hour drive away from Lewisham in Bracknell Forest, Berkshire, for over three and a half years.

Another has been living over 30 miles away in Harlow, Essex, for over four and a half years, council statistics show. 

At least 29 homeless families were sent by Lewisham Council to live in temporary housing outside of London last year.

The number could be higher, as the council refused to provide exact figures where the number of families housed in a council area was less than five. 

The figures suggest Lewisham has reduced the number of households it had placed in temporary accommodation outside of London by almost half since 2019.

At least 54 families were sent to live outside the capital in 2019/20, compared to at least 36 in 2020/21 and 29 most recently.

Most residents in need of temporary accommodation are placed in houses in nearby outer London boroughs by Lewisham Council.

Over half of the around 735 families provided with temporary housing by the council last year were sent to Bromley, Bexley, Croydon or Greenwich. 

As of August 2022, 59 per cent of the 2,744 Lewisham families in temporary accommodation were placed in the borough and 97 per cent in London.

A total of 94 families are currently housed outside of the capital by the council.

In June, the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed two other South London councils were regularly sending homeless families to live miles outside of the capital.

Freedom of Information requests showed Southwark Council housed at least one household a two-hour drive away in the East Midlands, while Lambeth Council sent at least one resident to live 62 miles away in Canterbury, Kent. 

Out of the three councils, Southwark has placed the most homeless families in temporary accommodation outside of London in the last three years.

The inner London council has sent at least 157 households to live outside of the capital since 2019/20. 

Lewisham has placed at least 119 homeless families in temporary accommodation outside of London over the same period.

Lambeth has sent 71 households to live outside of the capital since 2019. 

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We aim to place as many households in Lewisham as possible and the vast majority of our temporary accommodation placements are currently in Lewisham or other London boroughs – just 3per cent are outside of London.

“Given the limited supply of temporary accommodation within the borough, we prioritise in-borough accommodation for households who have a particular need to remain close to Lewisham, such as for education, health or employment reasons.”

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