Why are thousands of homeless London children living ‘temporarily’ in council flats?

Thousands of children and their families are living temporarily in council homes across London, writes Paul Coleman. Some 6,530 such homeless households across London were families with children, according to government figures for the end of March 2019. Some of these families have ‘temporarily’ lived in council properties for up to ten years. However, many of these families will have to move out when these council homes – built originally to house people permanently on secure tenancies – are demolished and ‘regenerated’ with new private homes that they will not be able to afford.

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Charity chief speaks out about the “unbearable” plight of London’s 88,000 homeless children

“Unbearable.” That’s how Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, describes the plight of more than 88,000 homeless children living in temporary accommodation across London. “Life in temporary accommodation is hugely destabilising for children and can weigh heavily on their development at school, as well their physical and mental health,” says Neate, responding to questions from London Intelligence.

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Over 88,000 homeless London children live in temporary accommodation

Over 88,080 homeless London children were living in temporary accommodation at the end of March 2019 – almost enough to fill every seat in Wembley Stadium.* Another 37,940 homeless children were living in temporary accommodation across other parts of England, writes Paul Coleman. These government figures solemnly measure the chronic housing crisis facing working class people in London and in other towns and cities. The insecurity of living in temporary accommodation denies all of these children a proper childhood and limits what they may become in their future lives. The strain on family life is immeasurable too.

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Maria’s story: the human cost of ‘temporary’ housing

‘We have got a letter to state we are moving out of our dungeon in four weeks. But where to? My blood boils with nerves. Wondering if they will put us in another place like this. I have to stay strong, not only for myself but for my parents as well. I am 14, old enough to understand the consequences of moving. We have to fight for a fairytale – because it does not exist.’ – Maria, 14, north London, on what life is like for the 56,280 families who live – often for many years – in temporary accommodation across London.

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