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Children in Temporary Accommodation

Volume 704: debated on Monday 29 November 2021

It is certainly not ideal, but time spent in temporary accommodation does that mean people are getting help and ensures families have a roof over their heads. We are committed to reducing the need for temporary accommodation by preventing homelessness before it occurs, which is why we are investing £375 million this year to support local authorities to prevent homelessness, an increase of £112 million on the sum last year. However, on 30 June this year 124,290 dependent children were living in temporary accommodation, although that is down 2.3% on the same quarter last year.

Some 124,190 children will spend this Christmas in temporary accommodation, without a place to call home. They will wake up in hostels, bed and breakfasts and working industrial estates, often far away from their schools and friends. Homeless families in the UK are moved the equivalent of 400,000 miles around the globe each year, at a staggering cost of over £1 billion. Given that there have been over 100,000 children in temporary accommodation since 2015, what hope can the Minister give this House, and more importantly those children, that they will at some point have a place to call home?

I completely sympathise with the cause trumpeted by the hon. Lady and would say two things. First, some councils are doing innovative work in this area: I understand Barnet Council is working with Opendoor Homes to purchase properties itself to use for temporary accommodation, as in that way it can at least control the quality and associated cost. But my personal preference is the work we are doing through Capital Letters, which has been very successful so far in helping London boroughs secure properties for use for temporary accommodation.