London mayoral election 2024: 'I've become homeless' - watch Londoners discuss the housing crisis

In this video, Londoners speak about the housing crisis ahead of the London mayoral election.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

While knife crime and ULEZ understandably grab the headlines as the mayoral election approaches, the issue that affects every Londoner every day is the housing crisis.

Skyrocketing rents are dragging families into poverty and homelessness, while even those on good and secure salaries see their disposable income dwindle.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On May 2, voters will put a tick next to the name of one of 13 London mayoral candidates - all of whom know well the strain millions of people are feeling.

The candidates have all made pledges on the issue, whether it is new council housing, more ‘affordable’ homes or a new housing developer - and of course “ending homelessness”. Jessica, currently staying in Crystal Palace, is a striking example of the sharp end of the crisis.

"I've become homeless," she told LondonWorld. "I have a good friend that's taken me in.

“I don't understand where the money is going since we're not investing in the quality. Everything is rubbish. I can hear my neighbour, I can hear who's in the toilet, I can hear someone coughing in another room - I think that's ridiculous. Things crumble all the time."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Concerns over the state of housing come at a time when people are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and face lifestyle choices they never expected to have to make.

Education worker Bhavani said: "Everything is more expensive but rents are going up. Landlords don't really care. People in their 20s, 30s, 40s, even 50s are sharing, which wasn't the norm back in the '80s."

Oscar said he is fortunate that his family home is in London. He is able to avoid, for now, the drain of private sector rent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Some of my friends are graduating, moving to London and paying £1,000 a month on rent - absolutely absurd,” he said. “I don't know how people can afford it, to be honest, and obviously everyone's just getting pushed further and further away from central [London]. It's tough."

For many students, paying the rent is now one of the biggest challenges of their time at university.

Sophie, 21, a journalism student at City, University of London, who is living in Catford, said: "From my experience, the London rental market is horrible when it comes to trying and finding a place to live which is remotely within budget.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The problem is not just in London, but countrywide. But I think it is particularly magnified in London. So housing is definitely something that I would love to see in a positive action. The cost-of-living crisis is linked to the housing as well."

Sophie said people want to see positive policies that impact their pockets.

“It is, practically, about how my pocket feels,” she said. “Does my salary get me to the end of the month? That is what I would want to know and understand if I can afford to live in London if I work here."

Pawel, 24, an upholster and a resident of East Finchley, said: "The housing prices and the cost of living is the major issue. Curtailing that would make everyday life much easier. Our mayor has made some efforts, but that is for private homes. The rents have been higher than ever."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.