Two major cities have reached ‘crisis point’ with temporary accommodation

Temporary accommodation systems in London and Greater Manchester are reaching crisis point as the capitals are facing sharp increases in homeless households requiring support, according to a new report.

The report by the New Smith Institute has found the situation is being exacerbated by the benefit freeze, overcrowding, the cost-of-living crisis and an acute lack of affordable housing.  low angle photo of high-rise building

Increasing numbers of homeless households are having to live in poor-quality, expensive temporary accommodation, with some forced to live hundreds of miles away from their hometowns.  

If trends continue, 100,000 children could be living in temporary accommodation in London and Greater Manchester by next year.  

Authors of the report are urging the government to take urgent action, as homeless charities warn there could be an explosion in homelessness as people struggle with rising costs.  

Paul Hackett, director of the Smith Institute and co-author of the report said: ‘London and Greater Manchester now account for two-thirds of all temporary accommodation in England. With homelessness increasing and fewer properties available, many boroughs are struggling to cope. The temporary accommodation system needs an urgent overhaul, including helping councils lease, buy and convert more properties for families who are struck in temporary accommodation – some for years’.  

The number of households in temporary accommodation in London and Manchester is three times the England average, with a lack of ‘move-on’ housing meaning they are stuck there for longer – sometimes for ten years or more.  

The report calls for a major overhaul of the system, including increased investment in new move-on social housing and rehousing programmes, so councils can buy and refurbish local properties.  

Authors also suggest reforms to the benefits system to make temporary accommodation affordable, extra funding for adaptations and new hostels, as well as rent support and improved housing standards.  

Tim Wates, Trustee of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust, which supported the research said: ‘This research from the Smith Institute offers a valuable but disturbing insight into the state of temporary accommodation in the UK today – the system is at crisis point.  We hope that this report provides an opportunity to start a conversation around how best to make the changes we desperately need.’

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