LGA warns on ‘unsustainable’ increase in homeless children

22 Jul 17

Councils have to house the equivalent of a new secondary school’s worth of homeless children every month, the Local Government Association has said.

It called this “unsustainable” and said demand for temporary accommodation had increased by more than a third in the last three years, while net costs had almost tripled between 2009-10 and 2015-16 from £50.9m to £146.5 m, a figure the LGA warned was “likely to be an underestimate”.

According to the LGA, councils are providing temporary housing for 120,540 children and their families, a net increase of 37% since the second quarter of 2014, and an average of 906 extra children every month.

Loss of rented housing was the leading cause of homelessness, accounting for 39% of cases.

The LGA called for councils to be allowed to borrow to build affordable homes and keep all the receipts of home sales for reinvestment in housing.

Its housing spokesman Martin Tett, the Conservative leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “It’s clear the current situation is unsustainable for councils, and disruptive for families.

“Whilst the government’s indication it will explore ways to enable councils to build more homes is encouraging, these new homes can’t appear overnight, and the demand is urgent.

“We now need the government to [allow] councils to invest in building genuinely affordable homes, and taking steps to adapt welfare reforms to ensure housing remains affordable for low-income families.”

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