Homeless children being inappropriately housed

New research with homeless children and young people has revealed a disturbing picture of the impact that being housed illegally in unsuitable B&Bs is having on their lives.

Supported by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), the Change It! campaign finds that children are being illegally housed in temporary accommodation, leaving many at heightened risk of sexual exploitation, developing mental and physical health problems and losing their education, as well as the physical difficulties of being housed in dirty, cramped and unsafe conditions.

Official government statistics show that at the end of 2017, 120,510 homeless children were housed in temporary accommodation, with 73 per cent of that figure housed in London. In the last year, numbers of homeless households placed in B&B rose by 10 per cent and are now 250 per cent higher than in 2009.

Furthermore, at the end of 2017, 2,050 households with children, or headed by a child, were housed in a B&B and of these nearly 45 per cent stayed longer than the six week legal limit.

Louise King, director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England, said: “It’s shocking that in 2018 children are telling us about living in accommodation infested with rats and being forced to share filthy bathrooms with adults they do not know. Bed and Breakfast accommodation is completely unsuitable for children – babies and very young children have nowhere to play, crawl and learn to walk and older children have no privacy and no where to study or socialise with friends. Despite it being illegal to house children in B&Bs for longer than six weeks the children we have spoken to have been forced to live there for months on end. The government must take urgent action to put a stop to this unacceptable situation.”