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Housing

123,000 children are living in temporary accommodation this year

Government statutory homelessness figures reveal a 70 per cent rise in children living in B&Bs, hostels and other short-term locations since 2010

Three Children In Pajamas Sitting On Stairs At Christmas

Child homelessness has continued to skyrocket with 123,630 children housed in temporary accommodation in England between April and June this year.

Government figures released yesterday revealed that the number of kids living in B&Bs, hostels and other short-term dwellings has hit a 12-year high and has shot up by 70 per cent since the Conservatives took power 2010.

The last time levels were at this point was back in 2006 when there were 130,470 kids in the same position as Labour were in office.

The majority (90 per cent) of these children were housed in self-contained accommodation while 2,560 lived in B&Bs with 900 of these there for longer than the statutory limit of six weeks – down from 1,200 in the previous year.

Overall, there were 82,310 households in temporary accommodation and 61,480 of these had children and 23,640 were housed in another local authority district, sharply increasing from 1,480 at the same point last year.

Campaigners have identified a reduction of funding for homelessness services, cuts to housing benefit as well as a shortage of affordable homes as the reasons for the rising rates. They also cited a lack of regulation in the private rented sector, although the government has been bringing through the Tenant Fees Bill throughout the year.

Greg Beales, campaign director at Shelter, said: “The fact that more than 123,000 children in England will be forced to wake up homeless this Christmas is a tragedy. A cramped room in an emergency B&B or hostel is no place for a child to live.

“This is now a national emergency. Every day we hear horror stories about homeless families faced with dirty, cold, and even rat-infested hostels. Whole families forced to share one room and even beds, and children too scared to leave their block to use the communal bathrooms during the night.”

The figures also gave a first peak at the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into force on April 1 and places the duty on local authorities to work with statutory homeless people within 56 days of being notified.

Between April and June there were 64,960 homelessness assessments with 58,660 households identified as being owed statutory homelessness duty. Of those, just over half were owed prevention duty at 33,330 while 25,330 required relief.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live. It is good to see our Homeless Reduction Act making a real difference but we know we need to do more.”

Image: iStock

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