The Local Government Association (LGA), who represent local councils up and down the country, have asked the Government to step in and take action regarding the masses of homeless people stuck in temporary housing during the coronavirus lockdown.
Councils request the power to seize empty properties to house the homeless: They say that many thousands of people are currently living in temporary accommodation due to a chronic lack of affordable housing. Latest figures for England show that there are 127,240 children living in temporary accommodating which included 1,440 households living in bed and breakfasts. The LGA said that measures to combat this could include new powers for councils to acquire empty homes, including making it easier to use Compulsory Purchase Order powers to buy properties and help move households on from temporary accommodation.
Their plea comes after the Government extended eviction bans for people renting in England and Wales although this ban is set to end on Monday. Charities have also joined in with the LGA meaning that eviction notices will not be served for 6 weeks in England and even longer in Wales.
The LGA also called for a review on the impact of the benefit cap in the context of the pandemic and for plans to be set out to deliver a step-change in social housing. LGA housing spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said “Living in temporary accommodation is disruptive and challenging for children and their families in normal times.
These pressures will be being compounded by going into another lockdown, and on top of that some are unable to attend school,” and said the plan would “give councils a better chance of being able to move homeless children into permanent accommodation and also minimise the risk of other households becoming homeless as a result of the pandemic.
This should include ensuring the welfare system is able to support families facing hardship and increasing the housing supply available to councils, as well as powers for councils to acquire empty properties and build much-needed social housing
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