Shelter report: One in 12 children homeless in parts of east London

A child living in temporary accommodation. A report release by the charity Shelter on December 3 fou

A child living in temporary accommodation. A report release by the charity Shelter on December 3 found there are 88,000 like him in the capital. Picture: Shelter. - Credit: Shelter

East London is facing huge levels of child homelessness, according to the housing charity Shelter.

A new report published today (Tuesday, December 3) shows one in 12 children in Newham is homeless - the second highest rate in England.

Tower Hamlets has a rate of one in 16, the seventh highest. Barking and Dagenham has one in 18, coming tenth.

One in 20 children is homeless in Redbridge - more than 3,900, according to the report. More than 1,100 children are living in temporary accommodation in Havering - one in 52.

Jane Williams is the founder of the Magpie Project in Forest Gate, a charity that helps homeless mums and their children. She said families can face homelessness for reasons including section 21 evictions, the housing benefit cap and domestic violence.

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"For families, homelessness often means temporary or emergency accommodation which is cramped, dirty and unfit," Ms Williams said.

"Temporary or emergency accommodation disrupts all aspects of life. Families are placed far from the place they see as 'home', leaving their friends, family, and social support network behind.

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"The only way to improve these children's lives is to provide warm, safe, clean environments for them to call home."

Shelter reports the number of youngsters without permanent shelter in the capital has grown by a third in the last five years. That means 88,000 children are living in temporary accommodation in the capital.

The charity also found 29 children lose their homes every day - one every 49 minutes.

"The fact 29 children in London become homeless every day is a scandalous figure and sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action," said Polly Neate, Shelter's chief executive.

"Day in, day out, we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the capital."

A Newham Council spokeswoman said the situation in London is "unacceptable" and its plan to build 1,000 new homes by 2022 is "proceeding at pace". She also said it was working to reduce poverty with an Inclusive Economy strategy and Community Wealth Building strategy.

A Tower Hamlets spokesman said its officers "work hard" to find temporary accommodation for families in or close to the borough and that they are not housed in B&Bs or hotels for more than six weeks. He added the council has committed to building 2,000 new council homes by 2022 and said: "All families are given support to identify a long term housing solution that meets their needs."

A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council said it uses authority-run hostels - not B&Bs - as a short-term measure for homeless families, adding: "We are continuing to do all we can to support residents to prevent homelessness". The spokesman also said the council has given more than 1100 people homeless prevention assistance.

More information can be found and donations made at

The councils for Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge have been contacted for comment.

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