It’s been revealed that thousands of homeless families have been stuck in emergency accommodation for at least two years.
The Independent has reported that a shortage of affordable homes in London is making it impossible for thousands of families to find a permanent residence so that they are able to leave hostels or bed and breakfasts.
Data released by councils to Shelter under Freedom of Information laws reveal that over 4,000 homeless families in London have been waiting two or more years to get a permanent home.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s appalling that in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, there are forgotten homeless children, hidden from view in temporary accommodation that offers them no stability and can be unsafe and in poor condition. And sadly, with more people struggling to make ends meet, we’re bracing ourselves for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our help.”
B&B and hostel accommodation is only supposed to be used by councils as a short term means of accommodation, however last year Labour found that the borough of Westminster spent almost £85,000 a week housing families in ten hostels.
Shadow communities minister Lyn Brown said: “Labour will tackle the housing crisis by getting 200,000 homes a year built by 2020, legislating for stable long-term tenancies for private renters so families can have peace of mind, and we’ll scrap the cruel bedroom tax which puts families at risk of homelessness.”
The Housing minister, Brandon Lewis, said: “Councils have a responsibility to house families in settled accommodation as quickly as possible and we have given them the tools to do this, including strengthening their powers to provide quality privately rented accommodation and providing more than £1bn to tackle homelessness and to support people affected by welfare reform. The numbers of households in temporary accommodation is well below the peak reached under the previous administration, which hit 101,000 in 2004. Households now spend on average eight months less in temporary accommodation than at the start of 2010.”
The Government’s claim is based on records of people leaving temporary accommodation – whereas Shelter’s figures show the numbers who have not even managed to leave.
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