Why We Do It

Rising child homelessness

The Newham story

Why under-fives?

Newham has the unfortunate honour of leading other boroughs in the number of people in temporary accommodation, child poverty rates and homeless referrals. We wanted to do something to make sure that a spell in temporary accommodation does not cause permanent damage to children who experience it.

Rising child homelessness

As of 2017 there are 140,000 children homeless in the UK. The number of children in B&Bs is four times higher than 6 years ago.

Newham suffers more than elsewhere

Some 2,000 households were housed by Newham council in temporary accommodation within the borough at the start of 2015, the highest of all London boroughs – London’s Poverty Profile. This does not include the large number of people housed by other boroughs into Newham. It is estimated that 4,994 children live in temporary accommodation across Newham.

Under-fives are particularly vulnerable

It is difficult to assess the number of under-fives in temporary accommodation in Newham because:

  • Many of these children’s parents have not engaged with universal services, because they are hoping that their placement will be temporary; because they have been unable to find appropriate services; or because they are fearful of engaging with the authorities on the grounds that their parenting may be questioned.
  • The transitory life of these families means that the picture is constantly shifting.
  • It is difficult to get figures on the families that are housed into Newham from other boroughs.

This makes them even more vulnerable – and in danger of slipping through the net.

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