IT’S been a bleak summer holiday for almost 123,000 school children because their families don’t have a permanent home, town hall chiefs have claimed.
The numbers of homeless children that councils are housing in temporary accommodation has gone up by 76% (or around 53,000) since 2011, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
Living in temporary accommodation isn’t good for the kids, of course; or their families for that matter. The resulting instability can affect parents’ employment and health, while children can struggle to take up hobbies, form friendships, and get on at school.
For councils, this piling on the pressures they face, the LGA says, leaving them facing a funding gap of almost £8 billion by 2025.
As a result, the organisation, which represents councils in England and Wales, is calling on Government to provide measures that could alleviate the homelessness crisis.
These include adapting welfare reforms, allowing councils to borrow to build more homes, and other measures to prevent homelessness in the first place.
“The summer holidays are supposed to be magical times for children. It’s a chance to be with friends and family and create memories that can last a lifetime. For too many families, it has been a miserable existence, living in inappropriate conditions as they experience the sharp end of our national housing shortage,” said Councillor Judith Blake, the LGA’s housing spokesperson.
“It’s crucial that we take the serious measures that are needed to get towards our collective ambition to end homelessness outright. The Government needs to ensure all councils are able to borrow to build the new homes that are needed to address our housing shortage and adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home where possible.”