WALTHAM Forest has the highest increase in London of people on housing waiting lists, according to latest figures.

Figures published by the National Housing Federation showed the number of people in the borough waiting for social housing to become available rose by 4,686 between April 2008 and April 2009 - the highest increase in London.

This brought the total number of homes needed to 14,341, equivalent to about 35,852 people in need of council accommodation.

The figures make the borough's waiting list the seventh highest in London.

Belinda Porich, head of the federation’s London region, said: "There is a real danger that many people will simply give up hope of getting anywhere unless there is a dramatic increase in the number of new homes being built.

"Thousands of families on this list are stuck in overcrowded accommodation.

"London has the highest proportion of homeless families in the country and nearly seven per cent of households are overcrowded – more than 2.5 times the national rate.

"The capital is in desperate need of larger, good quality, affordable homes."

The figures are based on data provided by local authorities to the Department of Communities and Local Government.

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