Posted 21 Aug 2019
Shelter responds to The Children's Commissioner's Bleak Houses report on homeless children in England
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “This report is a damning indictment of the catastrophic failure to address the housing emergency. It should act as a sharp wake-up call to the new government that spiralling homelessness is now robbing hundreds of thousands of children of a decent childhood.
“No child should be spending months, if not years, living in a converted shipping container, a dodgy old office block or an emergency B&B. But a cocktail of punitive welfare policies, a woeful lack of social homes and wildly expensive private rents mean this is frighteningly commonplace. We constantly hear from struggling families forced to accept unsuitable, and sometimes downright dangerous accommodation, because they have nowhere else to go. The devastating impact this has on a child’s development and wellbeing cannot be overstated.
“The message to this government should be clear: to stop more children from suffering we must urgently increase housing benefit so families can at least afford the basic cost of rent, alongside a long-term commitment to build 3 million more social homes. This is the only way to guarantee the next generation can have the stability of a safe roof over their head.”