A freedom of information request made by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation in Hackney has risen by 45% in the last 3 years.
In quarter 1 of 2017 (January to March) there were 3703 dependant children living in temporary accommodation, an increase of 1657 on the same quarter in 2014.1059 of these children were housed in hostels and bed & breakfasts.There is a 6 week legal limit on families housed temporarily in B & B rooms, however in quarter 1 of 2017, there were 142 children in Hackney who had spent longer than 6 weeks in this type of accomodation.A further 522 children had been housed longer than 6 weeks in hostels during the same period of 2017.Hackney Council did not provide these figures for the Department of Communities and Local Government statistics and so a Freedom of Information Request was submitted by Liberal Democrat campaigner, Darren Martin.Nationally the number of homeless children being housed in temporary accommodation rose by more than a third in the last three years, according to the official figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Based on these figures covering January to March 2017, there was a net increase of 32,650 (37%) since the second quarter of 2014 - an average of 906 extra children every month.
Temporary accommodation varies and could be a self-contained flat or a room in an emergency hostel or B&B, and most families (74%) stay in one place for more than a year before being re-housed.
Darren Martin, Hackney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson said:"These shocking figures show the government is failing the most vulnerable families and children and it is clear that drastic and radical reform is needed to allow local authorities to build the housing many families so desperately need."The housing waiting list in Hackney grows longer and longer, and the people who will suffer the most are these children and vulnerable families forced to live in hostels and bed & breakfasts whilst the Tories do nothing to tackle the housing crisis."Although we accept the national policy has hamstrung the Labour run Hackney Council in many ways, they need to do more with the tools they have to help these vulnerable children and families."I call on Mayor Glanville to make sure the council start using Empty Dwelling Management Orders which allow them to put unoccupied property back in to use for rent to directly help the thousands of homeless children and vulnerable families in Hackney living in temporary accommodation."Even though there is such a desperate need for housing, so far Hackney Council have not used this power they have had since 2006 a single time. This is despite there being over 2000 vacant properties in Hackney with over a 1000 of those being classed as long-term vacant, that could be put back into use for the most vulnerable families."