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A report published today by Shelter reveals for the first time the ...
A report published today by Shelter reveals for the first time the

huge bill to the taxpayer arising from the record numbers of homeless

families trapped in emergency housing.

The report, Living in Limbo, was based on a survey of more than 400

homeless households living in temporary accommodation in England. It

shows the devastating impact of homelessness on their health, education

and job opportunites. Two thirds of those surveyed said their children

had problems at school with the average child missing 55 school days a

year because of the disruption homelessness caused. Meanwhile, a

majority said that their health or their family's health had suffered

and nearly half described their children as 'often unhappy or

depressed'. The report estimates that temporary housing is costing the

taxpayer over£500m every year, including:

-£300m on higher rents and additional housing benefit costs

-£90m on additional take up of out-of-work benefits (income


-£50m on out-of-school provision for children

-£30m on additional take up of sickness benefits (incapacity


-£10m on additional visits to the GP due to health problems

Published a month after Shelter launched its Million Children campaign

to end bad housing for the next generation of children, Living in Limbo

provides further evidence of the life-long damage caused by the lack of

decent, affordable housing. As a first step to addressing this the

charity is calling on the government to make investment in affordable

housing a top priority in the upcoming spending review. Attached is a

summary of the main findings of the report

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter said: 'For the tens of thousands of

children who are shoved from pillar to post because of the shortage of

affordable homes, the term 'temporary accommodation' is a terrible

parody. There is nothing temporary about the damage done to their

education and mental and physical health or the cost to the taxpayer who

is left to pick up the bill. The government must give these children an

equal chance in life by making serious investment in affordable housing

a top priority in the spending review.'

Attached findings


Full cost breakdown

Report available

-- More than half of people had been waiting in temporary accommodation

for an offer of permanent housing for more than a year

Over three quarters of people (78 per cent) said that they had a

specific health problem and half said that they were suffering from


Over half of people said that their health or their family's health had

suffered due to living in temporary accommodation

People who had been living in temporary accommodation for over a year

were twice as likely as people who had been living there for less than

three months to report that their health has suffered as a result

Children had missed an average of 55 school days due to the disruption

of moves into and between temporary accommodation

Two thirds of respondents said their children had problems at school;

and nearly half described their children as 'often unhappy or depressed'

Only a fifth of families with children aged under four years were

accessing Sure Start

Over three quarters of households (77 per cent) had no family member

working. The reasons for this included health or mobility problems, the

insecurity of their accommodation, high rents and worries about changes

to benefits

Problems reported by homeless households were not confined to those

living in bed and breakfast or hostel accommodation. People living in

flats and houses had similar rates of ill health, economic inactivity

and other problems



1. Shelter estimates based on official statistics of children livin g in

overcrowded, temporary or unfit housing across England, Scotland and


2. Health Development Agency 2004 shows links between chronic or

infectous diseases and mental problems and overcrowded, damp or

temporary housing

3. Shelter survey of families living in temporary accommodation

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