A serviced apartment rentals company is offering a £2,000-a-month, two-bedroom flat (pictured, right) in Kings Cross, central London, free of charge to homeless people over Christmas.
The company, City Booker, is headed up by Laurence Lemeche who himself was homeless during his 20s when he first moved to London and says he remembers being in a cycle of homelessness and unemployment – unable to get a job because he had no home and not able get a home because he was unemployed.
Laurence (pictured, below) says at one point he slept in his car, but that this cycle was broken when a landlord gave him somewhere to sleep and now he wants to do the same for one of the capital’s homeless, who make up one in every 59 Londoners, according to housing charity Shelter.
He hopes that his offer of free accommodation will inspire other landlords to do the same and “help someone else turn their lives around this Christmas”.
Any agents or landlords who know someone who is homeless should direct them to Lawrence’s Facebook page to apply to live in the flat.
According to Shelter there will be 307,000 people sleeping rough or living in temporary housing this Christmas, and increase of 13,000 compared to last year.
The charity also says London has the largest number of homeless people and that of the 50 ‘hotspots’ in the UK, 18 are in the capital, although the increase in homelessness has been most marked in regional cities and leafier towns such as Chelmsford.
“On a daily basis, we speak to hundreds of people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness,” says Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter (pictured, right).
“A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.”