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How we can tackle the rise of temporary accommodation

Andy Slaughter MP | IKEA

3 min read Partner content

More social housing is the key to preventing the need for temporary accommodation. That is why I am supporting IKEA and Shelter’s Real Life Roomsets campaign to build 90,000 new social homes a year.

What do you think of when asked what homelessness looks like? Whilst most of us initially imagine cardboard signs and sleeping bags, homelessness has now become a far more widespread issue than most of us may realise.

Whilst we might typically associate it with the most visible kind, such as street homelessness, over the last decade all forms of homelessness have risen significantly across the UK.

Particularly, a rise in individuals and families living in temporary accommodation. This form of hidden homelessness has had a sharp rise. The Government’s own statistics point to 94,870 households in temporary accommodation and a total of 120,710 dependent children housed in temporary accommodation by the end of Summer last year.

Temporary accommodation, which can take the form of emergency hostels, B&Bs, one room bedsits and cramped flats, is provided by councils to qualifying families who are homeless and is designed to be just that - temporary. Unfortunately, due to a shortage in social housing, some families are finding themselves living in temporary accommodation for many years and are very often asked to move several times with short notice.

According to recent research commissioned by IKEA and homeless charity Shelter, one in five people in the UK are worried about losing their home, and one in two said that if they lost their current home, they would struggle to find somewhere else to live. This is a troubling state of affairs as households across the UK are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

One in every 208 people in England is currently experiencing homelessness, with thousands more likely to lose their homes by the end of the year as a result of the cost-of-living crisis so many are facing.

Recently, IKEA and Shelter launched a new partnership to raise awareness around the rise of temporary accommodation. In my constituency of Hammersmith, and other stores across the country, they have built ‘Real Life Roomsets’ to highlight the real living conditions of those who are forced into temporary accommodation as a result.

The Roomsets are based on real stories of real people local to the stores involved. Each roomset highlights the cramped, dangerous, and unfit spaces that an increasing number of people who are homeless are forced to experience when living in temporary accommodation.

These conditions and the rise of hidden homelessness is a big issue that so many families within my constituency are facing. My office receives hundreds of cases each month of unfit and overcrowded housing with families living in terrible conditions – many of whom are renting privately.

The private rented sector is now heavily relied upon to ease the pressures on social housing, but problems can often be worse as bad landlords are not held to account for the unfit state of their properties and tenants can lose their homes through a no-fault eviction. It is disappointing that the Government, who promised to end no-fault evictions, have not yet brought forward any legislation to do so.

I am supporting IKEA and Shelter’s campaign to build 90,000 new social homes a year to address the housing emergency. Only by building truly affordable social housing can we guarantee the provision of safe roofs over the heads of my constituents and the public at large.

Greater action must be taken, and I hope these displays will serve as a real reminder that change is needed, and Government has the ability to enact that change.

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