Self-isolation? Try it as a homeless family living in one room
Self-isolation? Try it as a homeless family living in one room

Ministers must go further to help homeless families during this health crisis.

With the COVID-19 pandemic now taking hold in England, schools are now closed, and people being advised to work from home, many of us are wondering how we’ll cope with weeks of self-isolation and social distancing. 

Experts are providing tips on how to deal with feeling like the walls are closing in. But in all the chaos, spare a thought for the homeless families living in cramped temporary accommodation, often for months on end, while they wait to be given a permanent home. 

For some, this can mean a … Read more

Unscrupulous firms are cashing in on the housing emergency
Unscrupulous firms are cashing in on the housing emergency

Homelessness is big business. I do not mean for the homeless families forced to live in squalid ‘temporary accommodation’, you understand. But plenty of people are queueing up to make money from it, and the opportunities to cash in are there.

Last night’s Panorama on the BBC shone a light on a murky world. More than 86,000 households in England are living in temporary accommodation – a population the size of York. And it is costing councils over a billion pounds.

How … Read more

'B&B is a prison sentence': children speak about being homeless
'B&B is a prison sentence': children speak about being homeless

The Change it! campaign, supported by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), is publishing new research into the lives of homeless children growing up in temporary accommodation. In this guest blog, Maria Stephens, Participation Manager at CRAE, writes about some of the harrowing stories that arose from the research – and about what might be driving the problem.

‘I’ve given up hope’

‘Living in B&B is like serving a prison sentence; I’ve almost given up hope. I’m 14 and … Read more

Homeless with a sick child: the stark reality of our housing crisis
Homeless with a sick child: the stark reality of our housing crisis

Rebecca is a mum to three children, including a baby with type 1 diabetes. To prevent her baby from becoming seriously ill, she needs to monitor his blood sugar levels throughout the day and night and provide him with a carefully controlled diet.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, Rebecca was facing homelessness when her landlord decided to evict her and her family.

A new report from the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) describes how Rebecca was badly let down by her … Read more

Kettle packs and extreme overcrowding: the realities of temporary accommodation

Having to feed your family while trapped in just one room, with nothing other than a kettle, isn’t something you’d expect to hear about in Britain in 2017.

But this sadly, was the reality for residents living in Buckinghamshire, where an explosion in the number of homeless families meant the council was forced to house those people in temporary accommodation (TA). Local foodbanks responded by putting together ‘kettle packs’, because all that was in the rooms to cook with were … Read more

Shelter's new scheme expects to provide lifeline for Bristol families

Shelter’s Bristol Hub is piloting a bond scheme in partnership with the Bristol Credit Union that gives homeless families the chance to access private rented sector (PRS) housing.  

These families remain trapped in temporary housing because of their financial difficulties and not being able to compete for PRS accommodation. With the upfront costs of private renting ever increasing, raising £2k for deposits and rent in order to move into the PRS is a hurdle these families are unable to overcome. … Read more

London’s forgotten homeless

Question:

How have we got into a situation in London where being homeless could mean: 

a)      Living in insecure temporary accommodation for up to 23 years 

b)      Living in temporary accommodation up to 200 miles away 

c)       Subject to the benefit cap with a £100 per week shortfall, putting you at risk of arrears and eviction?

 

Answer: 

A heady combination of a housing shortage, inadequate government support with housing costs, some private landlords taking advantage of desperate councils, and the Read more