Rent increases and a shortage of affordable housing is being blamed for the increase of families living in temporary accommodation.
Official figures reveal that the number of families living in temporary accommodation England has increased by over a quarter in the three years to the end of 2014, reports the Guardian.
By the end of 2014 61,970 homeless families were in temporary accommodation from B&Bs to home rented from private landlords. 46,700 of these were families with children.
One in 10 of these families were housed in accommodation with shared facilities. The figures showed 780 families had been in bed and breakfast style accommodation for more than six weeks, compared with 500 in 2013.
The most common reason for the loss of their homes was the termination of an assured short hold tenancy with a private landlord, which accounted for 30% of all homelessness cases accepted by councils.
Housing charity Shelter have said this is the equivalent of four homeless children in every school.
Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said there were thousands of homeless families “hidden away in emergency B&Bs and hostels, often forced to live in cramped conditions, share bathrooms with strangers, and eat their meals on the floor. Every day we speak to homeless parents who are desperate to find a stable place to bring up their children, but with so few affordable homes being built and a safety net in tatters, instead many are ending up living in limbo in temporary accommodation.”
Matt Downie, director of policy at the homelessness charity Crisis, said changes to benefits had contributed to the problem.
“More and more people are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure private rented sector. We know from our own research that housing benefit cuts are a central driver of this trend, with more than half of councils fearing worse is yet to come in the next two years. This must be a wake-up call for all political leaders: the housing crisis will not solve itself. We desperately need more affordable homes as well as political action to fix our broken private rented sector. At the same time, we must have a safety net that genuinely reflects the reality of renting.”
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