The number of homeless families housed in temporary accommodation who include at least one adult in work has rocketed by a shocking 73% since 2013, rubbishing the commonly held myth that work is the best route out of poverty and provides guaranteed protection against misery and financial hardship.
More than half (55%) of families housed in temporary accommodation, such as hotels and B&Bs, include at least one person who has a job, new research shows.
Research by the homeless charity Shelter reveals that 33,000 homeless families in temporary accommodation in England now include at least one working adult, compared to 19,000 families in 2013 – a 73% increase.
There are now more homeless working families in emergency accommodation than those who have no adult in work. Shelter England warn a lack of low-cost social housing and unaffordable rents are pushing families beyond the brink.
“I feel like we’re in a vicious cycle”, said a working mother with grown-up children.
“We’ve been in properties that are freezing and have mould crawling up the walls. And we’re still uncertain of our future.
“The boys have gone through a lot. It’s meant they haven’t reached their potential. There’s just no safety net for us.”
She continued: “I love my job and have worked there for four and a half years. I’ve just accepted a 40 hour a week temporary to cover the manager, which meant I got a pay rise, but I don’t see any benefit from the salary.
“Higher pay doesn’t seem to make you better off because it just means you get less support. I’ve struggled to put food on the table.
“As a proud person, I don’t like asking for help, but it’s from the kindness of friends we got through. It’s heartbreaking.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the figures expose “the grim reality of homelessness”, where hardworking families are “slipping through the net” because of a lack of genuinely affordable housing.
“In many cases, these are parents who work all day or night before returning to a cramped hostel or B&B where their whole family is forced to share a room”, she said. “A room with no space for normal family life like cooking, playing or doing homework,” she added.
“We cannot allow struggling families to slip through the cracks created by our housing crisis – the government must urgently come up with a new plan for social housing that delivers the genuinely affordable homes we desperately need.
“Our commission on the future of social housing will be calling for bold solutions, because more of the same is simply not good enough”