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‘This is no place for a child’: the experiences of homeless families in emergency accommodation

Successive governments have failed to build the housing we need for decades. This has pushed up the price of housing, making homeownership unaffordable to many families on average incomes, and led to a shortage of genuinely affordable social housing. As a result, more and more low-income families live in insecure private rented accommodation where rents take up almost half their income. Dwindling access to housing benefit and legal advice is leading to thousands of hard pressed families losing their home.

The devastating results of the housing shortage are now being felt by over a hundred thousand children. As of the end of June 2015, 105,000 children were homeless in Great Britain - the equivalent of four in every school1 and the number of homeless children is rising. Because there is a shortage of suitable homes, more and more homeless families are forced to spend more time in bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and hostel accommodation, where families have to share facilities with others. The number of homeless families living in B&Bs alone has grown from 590 in June 2009 to 2,700 in June 2015 - more than four times as many.

For this report, twenty families shared their experiences about living and raising their children in B&Bs and hostels. We also spoke to six school workers about the impact of homelessness on their school. The research tells the stories of homeless children, their living situation, how it affects their day to day life, their health, their wellbeing, their education and their childhood.