A primary school’s worth of children face becoming homeless this summer

LGA urges new Prime Minister to ‘do the math’ that makes tackling homelessness a national priority.

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More than 300 children face becoming homeless during the school holidays this summer as a result of the housing crisis, the equivalent to a primary school’s worth of children, council leaders warn.

The LGA estimates 320 homeless children in England could be placed into temporary accommodation over the next six weeks, based on trends for the last two years and exceeding the size of an average primary school with 282 pupils.

That calculation is based on a two-year trend, from December 2016 to December 2018, the most recent period for which data is available, which shows an extra 231 children are being placed in temporary accommodation every month.

Now, the LGA urges the new Prime Minister to ‘do the math’ that makes tackling homelessness a national priority.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, warns of an accommodation crisis close to insurmountable.

“While for many children the summer holidays will be a break from school to be enjoyed with family and friends, for others they face the tragedy of becoming homeless.

“It is not right that hundreds of children risk enduring the disruption of being placed into temporary accommodation,” said Cllr Tett.

According to the government’s own figures, there are more than 124,490 children living in temporary accommodation.

As part of its Councils Can campaign, the LGA wants the new PM to pass a range of measures that help councils tackle homelessness and to give them the tools and powers to resume their historic role as major housebuilders of good, quality affordable homes for social rent.

It says councils should be allowed to keep 100% of receipts of council homes sold under Right to Buy – to reinvest in new replacement homes – and to also be able to set Right to Buy discounts locally.

These would include councils facing a £421m funding gap by 2025 to tackle homelessness, will the LGA already saying Government should use the Spending Review to give councils long-term sustainable funding to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.

It also wants welfare reforms so Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates go back to covering at least the lower 30% of market rents.

Yesterday (July 19), 24housing reported the All Party Parliamentary Group on Universal Credit saying the impact of the 30% cap, the benefits freeze and rents rising faster than inflation sees the value of LHA has fall even faster than other benefits – to cover just 3% of rents in some parts of the country.

This means that most UC claimants have to make up a shortfall of rent out of their UC payment, and in many cases this shortfall is between £100 and £200 a month, making it impossible for them to get by. 

Instead, the Group says, benefits should rise by 2% above inflation for each of the next 4 years in order to restore their value to 2015 levels – with a minimum standard of income for benefits claimants should be assessed and implemented by the DWP for all elements of UC.

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