Number of homeless children in England reaches record high

“We desperately need UK ministers to focus on what can and will end homelessness."

Children living in poverty

A record 145,800 children are now homeless in England, the government’s latest quarterly homelessness stats have shown, highlighting once more the sheer scale of the housing crisis in the country.

The number of children living in temporary accommodation is now at the highest ever level recorded and up 15% on last year.

Almost 320,000 households were assessed as homeless or at risk of homelessness – also a  record high, while the number of households threatened with homelessness and owed a prevention duty because of a section 21 notice is the highest on record, at 25,910 over the last year. It was only last week that the government failed to set a date for banning section 21 no-fault eviction notices, which continue to have devastating impacts for low-income and vulnerable households up and down the country.

Reacting to the record figures, Matt Downie, chief executive at Crisis, said: “Today’s statistics need to be a wake-up call. We are failing to stop people being forced into homelessness and we are failing to help them back out. These are the appalling consequences of our failure to get a grip on this crisis.

“We desperately need UK ministers to focus on what can and will end homelessness. We need them to get on with building social housing that will help people out of temporary accommodation, and fund support services like Housing First so people can leave the streets behind. How many more records do we have to break before action is taken?”

Darren Baxter, Principal Policy Adviser at JRF, says: “The continued increase in homelessness – now at a record high – shows the human cost of an under-regulated, insecure and unaffordable private rented sector. Evictions are on the rise, while more and more households are forced to live in temporary accommodation – in some cases for years.

“With the return of the Renters (Reform) Bill to Parliament last week, the Government had an opportunity to finally strengthen protections for private renters. Instead, after rounds of concessions to landlords and backbench MPs, the Bill doesn’t even give a timeframe for abolishing Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions – despite the Government first promising to do so over five years ago. Homelessness will continue to rise unless the Government starts to take the private renting crisis seriously and makes significant changes to the Bill.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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