Over 60,000 families living in temporary accommodation while four times as many homes sit empty

Over 60,000 families are set to start the new year in insecure accommodation while four times as many homes sit empty across England, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The party’s analysis of the latest official figures reveal that over 60,490 households with children across England were in temporary accommodation. These households are home to 125,000 children in total.

Meanwhile, as of December 9th, there were over 268,000 homes classified as ‘Long-Term Vacant’ – meaning they’ve been vacant for longer than 6 months. Those relying on this short-term housing include families who’ve lost jobs due to the pandemic, vulnerable people, and those who were previously homeless.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding the Government make it a priority in the new year to secure permanent homes for children around the country who need them, to avoid further disruption to their lives and education.

London has the highest number of children in temporary accommodation in the country, with 42,290 families without permanent homes while 30,458 dwellings are empty for six months or more.

Some local authorities with the highest number of families in temporary accommodation also have thousands of homes sitting empty. These include Birmingham, where 2,900 families are in temporary accommodation and 5,386 are long-term vacant, Southwark, with 1,491 families in temporary accommodation and 2,358 long-term empty homes, and Manchester, with 1,713 families in temporary accommodation and 1,455 long-term empty homes.

Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said: “It is an utter travesty that many thousands of families will enter the new year worried about where to live while a swathe of homes are sitting empty.

Tim Farron

“Temporary accommodation only offers families a brief respite over the cold winter months. We know that being forced to move several times causes huge disruption, particularly for children in education.

“We need to see more long-term planning from the Government, to support people into permanent homes and a stable job so they can get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.

“Ministers must focus on getting everyone who is in temporary housing this winter a permanent place to live in 2022. Only then can we truly aim to level up our communities and build back better.”

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