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130,000 families squeezed into one-bedroom flats, warns NHF

Overcrowding in England has reached record levels with 130,000 families currently living in one-bedroom flats, according to a new report.

The report by the National Housing Federation warns a ‘stark lack’ of housing in England is driving this overcrowding.

According to the NHF, around 145,000 new social homes every year need to be built every year, including 90,000 for social rent.

Last year only 6,000 social-rented homes were built, as a result of sharp Government cuts to funding for new social housing in 2010.

The report comes just a day after the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield warned that there are 216,000 children in England living in temporary accommodation.

A poll, carried out by ComRes for the NHF, found that as many as 627,000 children are forced to share a bedroom with their parents.

And in more than a quarter of overcrowded homes, children even have to share a bed with a parent or sibling – this could affect as many as 368,000 children.

It also found more than a quarter of parents in overcrowded homes are often forced to sleep in kitchens, bathrooms or hallways because of the lack of space – which could affect as many as 380,000 people.

Homes are said to be ‘overcrowded’ if a child has to share their bedroom with two or more other children, sleep in the same room as their parents, or share with a teenager of the opposite sex.

‘This research shows yet another devastating impact of the broken housing market. All across the country, whole families squeeze into one-bedroom flats, children sleep three to a bed, and parents are forced to spend their night in the kitchen or a hallway,’ said NHF chief executive, Kate Henderson.

‘The only way to fix the problem is by building enough social housing, which requires a radical public spending programme – there is simply no other way. By investing £12.8 billion in affordable housing every year, the government can finally put an end to the country’s housing problem.’

Responding to the report, Darren Baxter, Housing Policy and Partnerships Manager for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: ‘A home should be an anchor against being swept into poverty but for parents bringing up children in overcrowded conditions it adds an extra strain. This can be fixed if we invest in building the low cost rented homes which low income families rely on and which can be their stepping stone to a better life.’

Photo Credit – Free-Photos (Pixabay)

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