Homeless children reaches highest level since 2007

New government figures have shown that more than 123,000 children were housed in temporary accommodation in England in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of nearly 80 per cent since 2011.

The data reveals that, alongside the 123,130 children in temporary accommodation, the number of people recognised as homeless over the age of 60 has increased by 40 per cent in the last year, reaching 2,520, with an equally significant rise found in homeless single parents (38,390 - a rise of 54 per cent over the last five years).

Polly Neate, chief executive of the homelessness charity Shelter, said: “It’s clear that our country is in the firm grip of a housing crisis as these figures starkly show, with older people and single parents both bearing the brunt. Something as simple as a family breakdown can push older people from a shared family home into private renting, yet huge rents and unforgiving welfare cuts mean they lose their homes.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, also commented on the figures: “While we welcome steps the government has taken around preventing homelessness, today’s figures are a stark reminder that there are still far too many people who are homeless and stuck in temporary accommodation or being placed in sub-standard and sometimes dangerous B&Bs.

“Every day we see first-hand the effects of long stays in these types of accommodation; people can become isolated, with little access to vital support services, in poor conditions with nowhere to wash clothes or cook … we’re calling on the government to take swift action to tackle the problem and fix it once and for all.”

Martin Tett, Local Government Association’s Housing spokesman, said: “This rise in homelessness, which means that councils are currently housing more than 79,000 homeless families and in excess of 123,000 homeless children in temporary accommodation, is deeply worrying. Councils are determined to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and do all they can to support families. Rising homelessness demonstrates the need for the duties that the Homelessness Reduction Act imposed on councils are fully funded and resourced.

“The people caught up in our homelessness crisis can’t afford for us to wait. It’s now crucial that we take the serious measures that are needed to get towards our collective ambition to end homelessness outright. We need the full range of public bodies to cooperate with councils when it comes to tackling homelessness and ultimately, we need 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.”