Siobhain McDonagh MP, who investigated the temporary accommodation in her borough, called it 'an accident waiting to happen'.
An investigation into one centre for homeless families in London has revealed the awful conditions faced by many of the almost 80,000 families in temporary accommodation in the UK overall.
Hundreds of homeless children and their parents are being forced to live in degrading and dangerous temporary accommodation on an industrial estate in London, a film by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh has revealed.
84 homeless families from four London boroughs are being temporarily housed in cramped, dangerous and unhealthy conditions in Connect House, a former industrial unit on an industrial estate in Mitcham, south London.
The film made by McDonagh shows families living in tiny rooms with barely enough space to move around; sinks are placed next to electrics; and many of the walls appear to have serious damp problems — whilst outside, lorries, vans and machinery are constantly are at work 24/7.
Waste and litter surround the building, whilst a doctor identified one baby’s wheezy cough as attributable to the industrial site’s fumes that he was breathing in, the filmmakers said.
Watch McDonagh’s film below:
Secondary to the appalling living conditions faced by those living there, the whole operation is also incredibly wasteful: the landlord charges £30-40 per room per night to the 4 councils, resulting in an estimated cost of £1.25 – £1.5 million of taxpayer’s money each year.
“Connect House is a multi-million pound death trap in the heart of an industrial estate. Lorries, vans and machinery are simply unsuitable and dangerous neighbours for the 84 families and their hundreds of children on the working estate”, said McDonagh, adding:
“Local authorities are housing families here without having even seen the property and the danger that they are placing their residents in. This is, quite simply, an accident waiting to happen.”
In England overall, 78,180 households are in temporary accommodation, a 7% increase on last year; these households include 120,170 children.
The numbers of people rough sleeping and living in temporary accommodation in the UK has grown to over 300,000, up by 13,000 in the last year alone, a report from homeless charity Shelter showed earlier this week.
The levels of homelessness are highest in London — one in every 59 people in the capital are homeless. In the London borough of Newham, one in 25 people are registered as homeless.
Connect House is just one example amongst many of those in greatest need being let down by local authorities and the government. As LFF argued earlier this week, we need urgent national action on the homelessness crisis and the housing crisis causing it.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.