New PM must prioritise tackling children’s homelessness

More than 300 children face becoming homeless during the school holidays this summer as a result of the housing crisis, the equivalent to a primary school’s worth of children.

That is the warning from the Local Government Association, which, based on trends for the last two years, estimates that 320 homeless children in England could be placed into temporary accommodation over the next six weeks. Such a number would exceed the size of an average primary school, which has 282 pupils.

The latest government figures show that there are more than 124,490 children living in temporary accommodation. Placements in temporary accommodation can present serious challenges for families – from parents’ employment and health to children’s ability to focus on school studies and form friendships.

Therefore, council leaders are calling on the new Prime Minister to make tackling homelessness an urgent priority when he arrives in 10 Downing Street. As part of its Councils Can campaign, the LGA wants the new Prime Minister and his government to introduce a range of measures to help councils tackle homelessness and to give them the tools and powers to resume their historic role as major builders of good, quality affordable homes for social rent.

The LGA also says that councils should be allowed to keep 100 per cent of receipts of council homes sold under Right to Buy – to reinvest in new replacement homes – and to also be able to set Right to Buy discounts locally.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s Housing spokesman, said: “While for many children the summer holidays will be a break from school to be enjoyed with family and friends, for others they face the tragedy of becoming homeless. It is not right that hundreds of children risk enduring the disruption of being placed into temporary accommodation.

“Councils desperately want to find every family a good, quality home, but the lack of available housing is making this an almost insurmountable challenge. This is why we are urging the Prime Minister to make tackling homelessness a priority.

“While it was good the government lifted the housing borrowing cap to give councils more freedom to build new homes, the new Prime Minister should take this even further and in the Spending Review give councils the tools they need to resume their historic role of building the homes the country needs.”