London Councils are warning of a sharp rise in the number of homeless people living in the capital this summer amid a housing crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cross-party group of council representatives in the capital are pointing to a "triple whammy" of upcoming risks threatening to push homelessness to record levels.

Those include high figures of people who are unemployed and/or in rent arrears, the upcoming end of a ban on evictions on May 31, and heightened uncertainty over funding for rough sleepers from central government.

Despite the success of the government's Everyone In campaign during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, the virus has exacerbated the housing crisis in various ways, not least due to the economic impact of coronavirus.

The government rolled back that scheme, which helped councils shelter rough sleepers in vacant hotels, in September last year.

And while it has since provided additional funds to support temporary accommodation for homeless people, a lack of clarity over the continued financing of that policy is combining with upcoming the eviction ban lift that is likely to make more families homeless, and the growing rent arrears crisis.

Data from the London School of Economics (LSE) showed recently that some 400,000 Londoners could face significant rent arrears by the end of the year as a result of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, over 130,000 Londoners have become unemployed since the start of the pandemic, with London's unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent far higher than the UK average of 4.9 per cent at present.

Analysis commissioned by London Councils showed this could worsen further after the furlough scheme ends in September, with potentially one in ten Londoners (9.4 per cent) unemployed by the end of the year, the group revealed.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said:

"Even though the Covid-19 situation is gradually improving, there’s a very real risk of London’s homelessness crisis getting even worse.

"In the coming months we can expect a triple whammy of continuing job losses in the capital, the imminent lifting of the evictions ban, and uncertainty over future funding levels for local homelessness services.

"Boroughs are doing everything we can to tackle homelessness in the capital, but ultimately we need the government to rethink its welfare policies and to boost long-term funding for local services if we’re to reverse these disastrous trends."

London Councils estimated there are currently 165,000 homeless Londoners living in borough-provided temporary accommodation.

A spokesperson pointed out that this equated to "two-thirds of England’s homelessness total and more than the entire population of cities such as Norwich (143,000), Lancaster (146,000), or Oxford (152,400)".

The group are now calling on the government to confirm what funding for London boroughs will be available from June onwards, and joining other opposition parties in demanding an end to the five-week wait at the start of receiving Universal Credit payments.

There are 243,000 families currently on waisting lists for social accommodation in London, and action from the government is demanded on this issue too.