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Housing

Eight families are going homeless for every social home built in England

The National Housing Federation analysis found that councils accepted 42,810 families as homeless while just 5,385 social homes were built

Child poverty

Councils accepted eight families as homeless for every social home built in England last year, according to a new study of the latest homelessness statistics.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) found that 42,810 families – or 117 every day – were deemed as homeless by local authorities last year.

And that doesn’t stack up against the number of new social rent homes built over the same period, a paltry 5,385 new social rent homes were built last year at a rate of just 14 per day.

This type of home – which is typically 50 per cent of market rent and the most affordable for housing hard-up families – has been identified by housing experts and campaigners as severely lacking in supply after the rate of dwellings built fell in recent years.

A decade ago, there were five social rent homes built for every family accepted as homeless every day.

But social rent funding was halted in 2010 and the number of homes built since then has plummeted, leading to a reduction of available social housing and huge waiting lists and triggering the rise of families stuck in temporary accommodation.

This should be a massive wake up call for the government to take urgent action to increase the number of social homes being built every year

To address that imbalance, the NHF say that 17 times the number of homes currently built – some 90,000 new social rent homes every year – are needed to meet the soaring demand.

The government pledged £2bn last year to build 25,000 social rent homes over five years.

But Kate Henderson, NHF chief executive, insists that more must be done to put a roof over the heads of families who need it most.

She said: “Homeless families are just the tip of the iceberg, there are thousands more in equally desperate need, living in severe poverty, overcrowding and unable to afford their rent. This is having a lasting and detrimental effect on hundreds of thousands of children affecting their mental and physical health.

“This should be a massive wake up call for the government to take urgent action to increase the number of social homes being built every year, and commit significantly more funding for social housing in the next government Spending Review.”

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association (LGA) have also warned that the housing crisis will make 320 children homeless over the summer holidays.

The local authorities body say that a primary school’s worth of children will be placed in temporary accommodation over the next six weeks, joining the 124,490 children already in that situation.

Placing families in hostels and bed and breakfasts instead of social rent homes is not only expensive, but it is also extremely disruptive to the parents and children who are unable to put down roots, often affecting education and employment.

The LGA wants the new Prime Minister – who is set to take over on Wednesday – to allow councils to keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts to reinvest in building social rent homes while also urging “long-term sustainable funding” towards preventing homelessness.

It is also calling for welfare reforms so local housing allowance will return to covering at least the lower 30 per cent of market rents.

“While for many children the summer holidays will be a break from school to be enjoyed with family and friends, for others they face the tragedy of becoming homeless, said LGA housing spokesperson Martin Tett.

“It is not right that hundreds of children risk enduring the disruption of being placed into temporary accommodation.

“This is why we are urging the Prime Minister to make tackling homelessness a priority.”

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