More than 600 people in Sutton are waiting for permanent homes.

And they could stay in temporary accommodation for up to five years.

At a meeting of Sutton Council’s scrutiny committee Councillor Jayne McCoy was asked how the council can work with the voluntary sector to tackle homelessness.

But the chair of the housing, economy and business committee said it is more complex than just homing rough sleepers.

“When we think about homelessness we thing about people living on the streets,” said Cllr McCoy.

“In Sutton that is a very small part of the problem. At any one time we’ve got eight to 10 rough sleepers and they are very difficult to place.

“But currently we have got 662 people in temporary accommodation – these were people we couldn’t provide permanent housing for.

“A lot of the things we do with Encompass is prevent homelessness by working with private landlords.”

Encompass is a limited company owned wholly by Sutton Council and is responsible for homelessness prevention, landlord services and providing information on housing in the borough.

Cllr McCoy said of those not in permanent homes 222 are in emergency accommodation.

From this they will move on to temporary accommodation and could stay there for up to five years.

“The biggest problem is the lack of affordable homes to move people on to,” added Cllr McCoy.