Homelessness continues to soar as children stuck in temporary accommodation hits record high

Credit: ITV News

The number of children in England living in temporary accommodation has increased to almost 139,000, the highest ever recorded.

The latest official statistics show 7,430 more children were stuck in temporary accommodation at the end of June 2023 than at the end of March, when the figure stood at 131,500. It represents a 14% increase on last year.

Around 7,510 families with children were living in hostels or bed & breakfasts at the end of June, widely agreed to be the worst form of accommodation as families are often cramped into one room, forced to share beds with very limited cooking and washing facilities.

Charities have described the numbers as "shameful" and urged the government to commit to building more affordable social homes.

“Today we’ve hit yet another shameful record in the housing emergency, with nearly 139,000 children now facing spending Christmas without a safe and secure place to call home," said Polly Neate, Shelter's Chief Executive.

“Decades of failure to build enough social homes combined with record-high private rents has resulted in more and more families being plunged into homelessness.

"For most this will mean months or even years in temporary accommodation, where their lives are stuffed into cardboard boxes and they can be forced to move at the drop of a hat."

The overall number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of June was 105,750, up from 104,540 at the end of March. It is also the highest figure since records began 25 years ago.

6,640 households faced homelessness due to being given a Section 21 notice – known as a no-fault eviction - an increase of 10.3% on the period last year.

ITV News has spent the last 6 months investigating the rise in homelessness and the growing shortage of temporary accommodation, as local councils face a chronic shortage of social homes and struggle to afford rooms in hotels and B&Bs.

I have written previously about the impact on children of living in temporary accommodation - the constant uncertainty and instability threatens to have lasting effects.

Earlier this month, ITV News' Investigations Correspondent Dan Hewitt spoke to families who were made homeless in the space of a few minutes

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Everyone deserves a safe place to call home, that's why we are spending £2 billion over three years as part of a cross-government strategy to build homes for rough sleepers, give financial support for people to find a new home, and prevent evictions.

“We know building more homes is also a part of the solution and we are doing so as part of our long term plan for housing.

"This also includes our multi-billion pound programme to build thousands of new affordable homes, with a large number for social rent.

“Our landmark Renters Reform Bill will also give tenants greater security in their home, and last week we increased the Local Housing Allowance so 1.6m low-income households will be around £800 a year better off on average next year.”

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