Temporary Accommodation: No rest for the unsettled

Temporary Accommodation: No rest for the unsettled

The number of London households in temporary accommodation has risen by 50% in the past five years, according to London Assembly Housing Committee report ‘Living in Limbo: London’s temporary accommodation crisis’.

In the final quarter of 2018, a total of 56,560 London households were in temporary accommodation, which includes 88,500 children. Families are being placed indefinitely in insecure homes, often of poor quality with no real hope of permanent affordable housing. To add to the misery, London councils are struggling to meet the demand of those who need temporary accommodation.

Pan-London projects are developing to bring London’s borough councils together to provide affordance decent quality temporary accommodation. Two examples are PLACE and Capital Letters. The Mayor has supported some of these innovative solutions, but he needs to do more.

The London Assembly Housing Committee has published a report ‘Living in Limbo: London’s temporary accommodation crisis’. It investigates the rise in demand for temporary accommodation, the reasons why, the impacts and the solutions Londoners need.

Recommendations include:

  • A focused temporary accommodation project should be set up in City Hall to seek out and support the development of solutions to the issue.
  • The Government should provide adequate funding for the changes in advice, assistance and support the introduction of Universal Credit was to bring through the Job Centre Plus service.
  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Work & Pensions should work more closely together to ensure that policies to reduce homelessness and improve housing security are not undermined by the implementation of welfare welfares.

The former Chair of the London Assembly Housing Committee, Sian Berry AM said: “Living in temporary accommodation, especially on a long-term basis, is very unsettling, especially for families with children.

“A decent home is a human right and there is nothing like being able to lay your head in a space you call home each night without fear for your safety, an impending eviction or yet another move to temporary accommodation.

“The Mayor must do all he can to support pan-London solutions to the crisis in temporary accommodation by working with London councils. He can help them find more secure ways to provide assistance to people facing homelessness who come from all walks of life.

“Government departments also need to work more closely to ensure the aims of the Homelessness Reduction Act are realised on the ground, with welfare changes joined up better with housing services.”

To download a copy of the London Assembly Housing Committee report Living in Limbo: London’s temporary accommodation crisis click here.

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