The number of homeless children housed in temporary accomodation has reached a 12-year high, with growing numbers of families unable to afford a home to call their own, official figures reveal.
The latest homelessness statistics, published today by the UK Government, reveal 123,630 children were living in temporary accommodation in England between April and June 2018 – a 70% increase on 2010 and the highest number for 12 years.
According to the statistics, a total of 82,310 families were housed in temporary accommodation between April and June, with 61,480 of these households having children.
Labour said the latest figures are a “national shame”, and blamed the Tories for fueling the homelessness crisis through benefit cuts and a lack of Government investment in genuine affordable homes.
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “When this Conservative Government ends, the national shame of rising homelessness will be on its political tombstone.
“Homelessness fell at an unprecedented rate under Labour, but under the Tories even more children will be homeless this Christmas, with over 80,000 households and 120,000 children now without a home.
“This is a direct result of Conservative decisions to slash investment for affordable homes, cut back housing benefit, reduce funding for homelessness services, and deny protection to private renters.
“The next Labour Government will end rough sleeping within a Parliament and tackle the root causes of rising homelessness with more affordable homes and stronger rights for renters.”
Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: “These figures reveal the stark reality of the homelessness crisis we are facing in this country – the fact that more than 120,000 children were living in temporary accommodation in June 2018 is quite simply a national disgrace.
“The number of households in temporary accommodation has increased by a staggering 71% since the low of December 2010 – this is frankly unacceptable.
“That figure includes almost 7,000 households – including more than 2,500 families with children – being forced to live in bed and breakfast accommodation, which is highly unsuitable.
“It is still very early days for the Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into force in April, but it does appear to be having an impact, with local authorities providing help for more people through their new duties.
“It’s crucial that the government makes sure that councils have enough resources to deliver appropriate assistance effectively.
“Ultimately, if we really want to tackle this issue we need to start building many more of the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices.
“For many people on lower incomes, the only truly affordable option is social rent – but our research shows we have lost more than 150,000 of these kind of homes between 2012 and 2017. It is vital that the government supports councils and housing associations to build more homes for social rent.”
Tory 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.
“That is why we are investing £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, we are putting £9bn into our affordable housing programme and we are also empowering councils to borrow to build more council homes to ensure that more people have a home of their own.”