A leading welfare official said that thousands of children are living in shipping containers or flats built cheaply in old office blocks.
The Children’s Commissioner said that they’re among 124,000 children living in temporary accommodation arranged by councils after their families became homeless.
Anne Longfield said children in homeless families were frequently put up in short term housing that’s dangerous, not fit to live in and usually far away from other family members, friends and schools.
But her report said only a minority of children in temporary accommodation remained there for long, and that three out of five had been found new homes with their families within six months, and only one in 20, about 6,000 children, were in temporary accommodation for a year or more.
Miss Longfield called on the Government to establish a large scale housebuilding programme, and she said that something had gone extremely wrong with the housing system when children were growing up in B&Bs, shipping containers and old office blocks.
She said that children had told them of the disruptive and at times frightening impact this can have on their lives and that it’s a disgrace that a nation as prosperous as ours is leaving tens of thousands of families in temporary accommodation for extended periods of time.
It’s believed there are more than 210,000 homeless children in England, of whom 124,000 are on the official homeless register and living in temporary housing, and a further 90,000 said to be sofa surfing families living with relatives or friends.
Housing Ministry figures say that of homeless people helped by councils last summer, six out of ten were single adults, while a further 26 per cent were lone-parent families and 8 per cent were couples with children.
Miss Longfield’s report said a recent development has been the repurposing of shipping containers, and that the units were typically one or two bedrooms and small in size, meaning that overcrowding can be a problem and that they could become hot in summer and too cold in the winter.
The report warned that households slipping behind on rent or mortgage payments could put another 375,000 children in England in danger of homelessness in the coming years.
The Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, said that the extreme shortage of social rented homes available, means councils have no option but to put families into temporary accommodation, including, in emergencies, bed and breakfasts.
The more serious problem is the lack of ventilation these buildings have which is causing mould and overheating, but these people don’t have a choice. On the other hand, I guess it’s better than sleeping on the streets, or in a run-down hostel.
These containers seem useful as a temporary measure but not for long term use, and they’re not just being used to house immigrants, they’re being used to house British people as well, each one still faces the same issues.
Sadly though the land of milk and honey is running out of milk and honey, and the containers aren’t great, but then beggars can’t be choosers, it’s that simple.