127,240 children living in temporary accommodation

The Local Government Association has warned that approximately 450 primary schools’ worth of homeless children are spending lockdown in temporary accommodation amid a chronic shortage of affordable housing.

Latest figures for England show there are 127,240 children living in temporary accommodation, including 1,440 households with children in bed and breakfasts. Council leaders stress that the number of children having to spend the latest national lockdown in temporary accommodation reinforces the urgent need for the government to ensure building of more affordable homes to rent, which is central to our recovery from the pandemic.

The LGA has set out a six-point plan of further action the government can take during these critical weeks to protect renters and prevent further homelessness once the ban is lifted. This includes powers for councils to acquire empty homes, improved protection through the welfare system, an immediate review of the impact of the overall benefits cap in the context of the pandemic, a step-change in social housing, bringing forward the government’s pledge to end ‘no fault evictions’, and ensuring that councils have enough resources to support households at risk of homelessness.

David Renard, LGA housing spokesperson, said: “Living in temporary accommodation is disruptive and challenging for children and their families in normal times. These pressures will be being compounded by going into another lockdown, and on top of that some are unable to attend school.

“Our six-point plan would give councils a better chance of being able to move homeless children into permanent accommodation and also minimise the risk of other households becoming homeless as a result of the pandemic. This should include ensuring the welfare system is able to support families facing hardship and increasing the housing supply available to councils, as well as powers for councils to acquire empty properties and build much-needed social housing.”