Some 129,380 children were in temporary accommodation on March 31 – the highest figure recorded since summer 2006
There is now a total of 129,380 children who are homeless, that is around 50,000 more than five years ago, which is a rise of 59 per cent – according to government statistics by homelessness charity Shelter. If compared to the end of 2017, it means that 3,000 more children are believed to be homeless. The staggering estimate includes the small number of children sleeping rough and living in insecure temporary accommodation.
The number is up 3.1% on last year and is the highest quarterly figure recorded since summer 2006. More than two-thirds of all people stuck in temporary accommodation – a measure of homeless – have dependent children living with them.
And some 1,550 parents with children are living in what are supposed to be short-term B&Bs.
While that was a 29% drop on last year, 530 of those parents had still been in B&Bs beyond the legal limit of six weeks.
Overall the number of households in temporary accommodation soared 9.4% on last year to 93,000.
These calculations reveal that an average school in Britain now includes five homeless children. There is an average of 28 homeless children for every school in London, where the crisis is at its worst. It is thought that an estimated 9,500 children will spend Christmas Day in a hostel or bed and breakfast, the charity added, warning that the UK’s housing crisis is now being “felt across a generation. Over the last five years, hundreds of thousands of children have known what it’s like to be homeless.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said this rise was largely driven by single households and may be linked to the coronavirus ‘Everyone In’ scheme.
The scheme took rough sleepers off the streets and housed them in places like hotels – upping the number of people in temporary accommodation.
But campaigners have warned a new wave of homelessness is on the horizon as landlords get permission to restart evictions – banned for five months – this Monday.
Greg Beales, director of campaigns at Shelter, said in a statement: “The impact on these young people cannot be overstated. The number of children hidden away in hostels and B&Bs is enough to make anyone’s heart sink. These are not places for children. We hear about cold, damp – even rats,” he added. “Homelessness affects all people, but particularly children,” Patrick Mulrenan, a senior lecturer in community development and leadership at London Metropolitan University, said. “It has a massive effect on their education.”
“There’s been a long-term trend since 2010 of more people going into temporary accommodation,” said Mulrenan, who was not involved in the study. “We haven’t been building enough affordable, long-term housing for people, particularly in London. There have also been some benefit changes which are making it very difficult for people to maintain their homes,” he added. “Back in the 1970s, you’d be shocked at someone sleeping on the street, and now people become immune to it.”
In three months, almost 5,000 households were threatened with homelessness after being served a ‘no fault’ eviction notice.
A quarter of all households who applied to their council for help were renting from a private landlord at the time – 19,160.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter said: “Thousands more renters have since had their lives turned upside down as the country descends into economic free-fall.
“With daily news of new job cuts and the eviction ban set to lift on Monday, the coming months are likely to see a devastating homelessness crisis unfold unless the government steps in to safeguard people’s homes.
“Some may even face sleeping on the streets as councils struggle to cope with the intense pressure on oversubscribed services.”
The total number of households considered homeless or at risk (75,140) was 2.4% higher by March 31 than the equivalent period last year.
There was a greater annual rise in the number of households considered homeless – 7.6% up from the 34,110 households in the same quarter in 2019.
The government said many of these households would not have been eligible for help prior to the Homelessness Reduction Act which came into force in 2018.
Therefore, it said, it was unclear if the rise is due to more households becoming homeless or more being offered help.
A failing Political class.
What is very clear is that these figures reflect not just a failing Tory government, this is an example of a failing political class. Political Parties that have used housing as a political football for decades. Neither political party are prepared to take control and build social housing in the millions. After all, the majority of MPs are Landlords but more so the ‘supply and demand’ in housing keep the prices up and the banks happy and thriving. -Paul Knaggs