More than one in three homeless families in London are finding themselves trapped in temporary accommodation for more than two years, says one of the UK’s leading homeless charities.
The figures, obtained through a freedom of information request (FOI), show that over 4,000 homeless families in our nations capital (41 per cent) are often forced to live in “unsafe and poor conditions”, including “run down” B&B’s, while waiting for a more suitable place to live.
Children are being “hidden from view” in one of the “wealthiest cities in the world”, say Shelter. The charity is “bracing themselves” for the situation to become even worse, as more and more families are “struggling to make ends meet” in the face of welfare cuts and stagnant wages.
Research published today from the Ministry Justice shows a shocking 10% rise in evictions, largely caused by landlord repossession. Rising property prices in London is leading to landlords selling their properties, with little or no warning for their tenants, in order to cash-in on the house price boom.
Councils in London are struggling to find suitable housing for thousands of homeless parents and their children, mainly due to a chronic shortage of affordable properties. The result being that some of UK’s most poorest and most vulnerable people are finding themselves left “in limbo”, with no home to call their own.
Shelter tells the story of Louise and her four children who became homeless following a marriage break-up. The family home was tragically repossessed. Louise and her children were housed in a single room inside a “filthy” and “intimidating” B&B.
Louise said: “We had to share the kitchen and toilets with other residents, and they were always filthy. I was constantly cleaning so that the children wouldn’t have to see what a mess they were, but at night we were all too scared to use the toilets anyway because there were groups of men hanging around the corridors and it was really intimidating.
“Luckily we got in touch with Shelter and they were incredible. They helped us find more suitable temporary accommodation that feels much more like a home. We’re still in limbo though, because like with all temporary accommodation, we can’t stay here forever.”
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said:
“It’s appalling that in one of the wealthiest cities in the world there are forgotten homeless children, hidden from view in temporary accommodation that offers them no stability and that can be unsafe and in poor condition.
“And sadly, with more people struggling to make ends meet, we’re bracing ourselves for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our help.”