Sep 12 2011 By James Cracknell
Former Hillingdon resident Elliott O'Connor gave up looking for a one-bed flat in the area after three years.
MORE than 600 extra people have joined the waiting list for council homes in the borough in the last year.
The total on Hillingdon Council's housing register is now 7,856, despite efforts to curb the rise through improved links with the private sector.
Private rents in London have risen on average by about 15 per cent in the same period as more tenants flood the market.
Neil Stubbings, council deputy director of housing, said: "The increase in figures is due to a rise in demand for social housing. All applications are assessed and priority is given to those who require housing urgently.
"Lower priority applicants are given information on alternative means such as through private rented accommodation or by using Re-House UK."
Website Re-House UK is one new method councils are employing to help find suitable accommodation. It is run exclusively for people on housing benefit.
Around 300 homes have been successfully let through the website over the past year - many in Hillingdon as one of the first to sign up.
But the Mayor of London has acknowledged that 13,200 'affordable' homes need to be built in London each year and Hillingdon is likely to "aspire towards securing 50 per cent of all new housing as affordable" in its core planning document due to be discussed by councillors on Thursday (8).
Former Hillingdon resident Elliott O'Connor (pictured) told the Gazette this week that he gave up looking for a one-bed flat in the area after three years.
He now lives in Slough, the closest place he could find to Middlesex where he could afford his own accommodation.
Mr O'Connor, 27, said: "I have been signed off work for health reasons since 2008 and I found that it was almost impossible to find somewhere to live as a DSS [housing benefits] tenant.
"I spent three months living on the streets around Hillingdon Hospital and Heathrow before I moved into my girlfriend's place in Hayes.
"I was on the waiting list as a Band D priority. After about a year they found me a single room on the SOLO housing project for shared accommodation, in Cowley.
"There was violence, rust, mould, I had to put my hand in the cistern to flush the toilet. Someone broke in and stole my telly.
"After two years I decided I couldn't live there anymore. I was looking for private accommodation but there was nowhere in Middlesex."