Council leaders warn 123,000 children spend school holidays homeless

More than 123,000 children and their families have spent their school holiday homeless, according to new figures.

The figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) show the numbers of homeless children that councils are housing in temporary accommodation has increased by 76 per cent in the last seven years.

And since 2011, the figures also show local authorities have been housing an additional 650 homeless children every month – the equivalent of an additional primary school’s worth of children every fortnight.

The LGA has repeatedly called on ministers to allow councils to borrow to build new homes, with the right infrastructure, to tackle the housing shortage which is the root cause of our homelessness crisis.

It said that the current situation is now unsustainable and the net cost of providing temporary accommodation is spiralling, with more families struggling to meet the cost of housing.

Although council leaders say the Government’s recent Rough Sleeping Strategy is a positive first step, they are warning that ministers needs to go much further, much faster, to support councils to prevent homelessness for all groups, including families and their children.

‘The summer holidays are supposed to be magical times for children,’ said the LGA’s housing spokesperson, Cllr Judith Blake.

‘For too many families, it has been a miserable existence, living in inappropriate conditions as they experience the sharp end of our national housing shortage.

‘Councils are currently housing almost 123,000 children experiencing homelessness, which not only has hugely negative impact on their young lives but creates an unsustainable position for local councils, as they experience spiralling housing costs without the tools and resources to deliver the homes their residents need,’ added Cllr Blake.

‘It’s crucial that we take the serious measures that are needed to get towards our collective ambition to end homelessness outright. The Government needs to ensure all councils are able to borrow to build the new homes that are needed to address our housing shortage, and adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home where possible.’

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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