79,000 families are currently housed in temporary accommodation in England, a staggering rise of 65% since 2010.
This is according to a June 2018 report by Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) and the Change it! steering group of 24 young activists who have experienced homelessness.
The report finds:
- Bed and Breakfasts and Temporary Accommodation are often unsafe, dirty, overcrowded and breach health and safety regulations.
- Local authorities are not fulfilling their safeguarding duties.
- Welfare reform is a driver of the growing numbers of homeless families.
- Adequate housing is a human right recognised under international law.
The report includes the voices of children who have been homeless and experienced living in B&Bs and temporary accommodation.
- The Local Government Ombudsman should take pro-active steps to stop authorities using B&Bs beyond six weeks and action should be taken when they break the law.
- Temporary Accommodation used for families must not have shared facilities and must be child- friendly, clean and safe. It should be inspected every week to two months. All councils should have a safeguarding policy for transferring families to Temporary Accommodation or B&Bs. They should also seek advice from their safeguarding service when doing this.
Virgínia Brás Gomes, Chair of UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights writes:
Adequate housing is also fundamental to children’s ability to enjoy their other rights, including education, health, protection, play and nutrition. Above all, it is indispensable for their physical security and emotional wellbeing.