It won’t solve the UK homelessness crisis, but one property firm owner is offering a central London flat for free this Christmas to help someone in need.
Laurence Lameche, who himself spent time sleeping in a car when he first moved to London and wasn’t able to pay rent, has taken to Facebook to offer the chance for anyone who is homeless this Christmas to temporarily use one of his two-bedroom flats near King’s Cross station in London.
The property, which is normally let out for £2,000 a month, is available to any homeless singleton, couple or family “for a few nights, a week or a month”.
Laurence, who runs property businesses City Booker and The London Property Buyer, posted a video advertising the flat on Facebook.
Spread the word
“I’ve had lots of people contact me, telling me where some homeless people are sleeping in the streets, so tonight and over the next few nights I’m going to go out and speak to them,” he said. “I’m also going to get in touch with charities.
“What I would love to do is to help inspire other landlords and other property owners, who might have a property empty over Christmas, to do the same.
“A lot of properties are empty during this period – it’s a tough time to rent as most people have settled.”
According to the most recent figures from government and local authority data, there are around 307,000 people sleeping rough or in temporary housing in the UK, with London seeing the worst rate of homelessness at one in every 59 people.
Next year will see the introduction of a new Homelessness Reduction Act from the government, which will mean councils must take active steps towards helping households that are at risk of losing their homes. However, homeless charity Shelter has said that more genuinely affordable homes will need to be built to help achieve this, as well as an end to the local housing allowance freeze and more safeguarding in place for private tenants.