A new report from Shelter, with support from Trust for London, looks at the reality of life in temporary accommodation for tens of thousands of people. Here grants manager Susie Dye, shares why this work is so important.
This is not right. In London, this problem is particularly acute. Rents have increased faster than earnings, particularly for those on lower incomes. This means that many struggle to afford to pay the bills. Of these, a depressingly large number of people end up in government-arranged ‘temporary’ accommodation – often called hidden homelessness.
At Trust for London, we want to see a world where all Londoners can afford a secure, decent place to call home, regardless of their income. Through the work we fund – such as projects supporting Londoners living in temporary accommodation to access legal advice and have their voices heard – we know how far from this reasonable expectation we currently are.
For the first time in over a decade, this research provides reliable, national evidence on the impact of living in temporary accommodation on the people and families affected. It makes a series of achievable recommendations, influenced by people who have lived it and know best what would make a difference.
We call on those with the power to make change to listen. Let’s together do what we can to stop the injustice of hundreds of thousands of families living in expensive, cramped, unhealthy homes, paid for only partially by benefits, that make them sick and less able to work, and harm children’s life chances. It’s time we do better by those in temporary accommodation.
About the research
Over the last decade, the number of social rented homes in England has fallen by more than 100,000. Into this void has emerged ‘temporary accommodation’. This is accommodation councils offer to homeless households while they wait for their application for help to be processed and to be offered a settled home.
Temporary accommodation was never intended to exist outside of emergencies. But it’s now accommodating almost 100,000 households, including over 125,000 children. And its use is on the rise. The number of households living in temporary accommodation has doubled in the last ten years. Temporary accommodation is often far from a temporary arrangement. The majority of households live there for a year or more.
To produce the report, Shelter conducted research with 1,112 people living in temporary accommodation. This is the largest ever survey with this group. The surveyed sample reached across England and was broadly representative of all households in temporary accommodation. The research and analysis was guided by a steering group of experts by experience and grassroots organisations.