Barnardo’s says that housing and benefits system is failing homeless children stuck in Croydon B&Bs

By - Friday 10th April, 2015

National children’s charity Barnardo’s calls for reform after revealing that Croydon is the third highest borough in London in terms of numbers of homeless families with children in B&Bs.

Photo by Barnardo’s, used with permission.

Release begins: Barnardo’s is calling for changes to the housing and benefits system to prevent scores of homeless children being put up in bed and breakfast accommodation in Croydon for longer than the law allows.

The children’s charity says families who are stuck in B&Bs for long periods are among the worst affected by a surge in homelessness, which is now at a six-year high. Four fifths of the UK’s homeless children live in London, with 72,110 children placed in temporary accommodation around the capital.

Most are put up in short-term social or private rented housing, but at the end of last year 450 families with children were left in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation for long periods.

The problem is concentrated in a handful of boroughs including Croydon, Brent, Tower Hamlets and Redbridge.

According to the law, homeless families with children should only be put up in B&Bs with shared toilets, bathrooms or kitchens in an emergency, and for a maximum of six weeks.

But Croydon had 45 families with children housed in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks, ranking the third highest in London.

Tower Hamlets had 81 families with children living in B&Bs for more than six weeks at the end of last year – more than any other borough.

In Brent there were 77 families with children living in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks at the end of 2014, a rise of 80 per cent on the previous year.

In Redbridge the number of families with children living in B&Bs for more than six weeks rose from four at the end of 2013 to 40 at the end of last year – a tenfold increase.

Lynn Gradwell, Director of Barnardo’s in London, said: “It is unacceptable that so many children are living in temporary accommodation in the UK’s capital city.

“Many of the vulnerable families and young people we work with in London are being plunged into hardship, rent arrears, and homelessness by welfare reform measures such as the bedroom tax.

“We are calling on all parties to ensure that the benefits system is adequate to protect vulnerable families, not punish them. To start off, this means lifting the ‘bedroom tax’ if there is no other available accommodation for families and re-instating ring-fenced emergency funding for families in financial crisis.”

Release ends.

Release sender: Barnardo’s.



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