Monday, November 18, 2019
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130,000 families forced to live in one bed flats due to chronic social housing shortage

Calls for a £12.8bn national investment in social housing building.

More than 130,000 families are having to live in cramped one-bedroom properties due to a chronic shortage in genuinely affordable homes, according to new research by the National Housing Federation (NHF).

It comes as a separate report warns that thousand of vulnerable children are growing up in unsuitable accommodation, including B&B’s and even converted shipping containers.

The research reveals that more than one in ten children in England are living in overcrowded homes. The equivalent of 1.3 million children and more than 600,000 families.

The NHF warns that overcrowding has now record levels, with as many as 96,000 more children growing up in overcrowded homes compared to a decade ago.

Homes are said to be ‘overcrowded’ if a child has to share their bedroom with two or more other children, sleep in the same room as their parents, or share with a teenager of the opposite sex.

The new report finds that just under half of children in overcrowded homes are forced to share a bedroom with adults, affecting as many as 627,000 children.

It also reveals that around 368,000 children are sharing a bed with a parent or sibling, while 380,000 people are sleeping in kitchens, bathrooms, or hallways.

The report adds that some 750,000 children are struggling with homework because of a lack of space.

NHF says England needs around 145,000 new social homes every year, including 90,000 for social rent. However, only 6,000 social-rented homes were built in the last year, due to funding cuts from central government.

Rough sleeping has increased by 165% since 2010, while the number of households in temporary accommodation is at a ten-year high.

Meanwhile, more people are being pushed into expensive and insecure private renting, including 1.3m children currently growing up in poverty in privately rented homes.

Many more people are stuck at home with their parents, unable to build independent lives and start families of their own.

NHS is calling on the government to invest £12.8bn every year for the next decade in building new social homes. They claim this would effectively end the housing crisis, kick starting a nationwide housebuilding boom of around 145,000 new social homes to rent and shared ownership properties to buy every year. 

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said:   “This research shows yet another devastating impact of the broken housing market. All across the country, whole families squeeze into one-bedroom flats, children sleep three to a bed, and parents are forced to spend their night in the kitchen or a hallway. 

“This is having a huge impact on more than a million children, seriously affecting their start in life. For decades, successive governments have failed to invest in social housing, and families are paying the price.

“The only way to fix the problem is by building enough social housing, which requires a radical public spending programme – there is simply no other way.

“By investing £12.8bn in affordable housing every year, the Government can finally put an end to the country’s housing problem.” 

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “These figures show the impact of Conservative ministers’ cuts to housing investment at a time when new social housing has never been needed more.

“The country is now building 30,000 fewer social rented homes each year than in 2010, while there are over a million households stuck on council waiting lists.

“Labour will build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council housing programme in a generation.”

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