The human rights of thousands of London children are being violated as they remain forced to live in substandard and uninhabitable ‘temporary’ accommodation, often for years.
A report by Human Rights Watch and the Childhood Trust contains dozens of examples. For instance, Lambeth Council put Amaka, a pregnant mother of three small boys, in a studio flat for six months.
“The council left me. When Covid started I saw hell,” says Amaka.
Southwark Council placed Layla and her four daughters, aged six to 26, for two years in a three-bed Croydon home that had toxic mould. This caused severe breathing problems for the family.
Jada, 15, slept in a Wandsworth bedroom with a cracked wall that let in winter cold. Diagnosed with pneumonia, she had to miss school when sent to live with family outside London.
The report, I Want Us To Live Like Humans Again, states 84,450 London children in 42,290 households live in such ‘temporary’ accommodation.
The report, based on government October 2021 data, blames ‘reduced government funding for local councils, austerity-motivated cuts to the welfare system, and a lack of affordable permanent housing’.
The report though makes little mention of local councils that demolish council estates that could be refurbished. Such developer-driven estate ‘regeneration’ schemes result in net losses of genuinely affordable social rented homes and the transfer of public land to corporate private interests.
But the report does reveal how little has changed. In 2019, London Intelligence researched and reported on government data that showed over 88,000 children were living in temporary accommodation across London – enough children to fill Wembley Stadium.
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