Thursday, 26 November 2015

Quarter of London children in overcrowded homes

One in four children are growing up in overcrowded housing in London, according to a network of voluntary and statutory organisations tackling child poverty in the capital.

In a report released today, the 4in10 End Child Poverty London Project said there has been an 18 per cent rise in the past three years of children in the capital growing up in cramped conditions.

More than 70,000 children are living in overcrowded conditions with many sharing beds with their siblings or sleeping on the floor, the report states.

Children from a project at the Stowe centre in Westminster have launched a campaign today to ask London mayor Boris Johnson to halve the number of children growing up in overcrowded housing.

Ade Sofola, strategic manager at 4in10, said: ‘Overcrowding is a serious issue and it shouldn’t happen in a wealthy city like London.

‘Growing up in cramped conditions means children are sleeping on floors or sharing beds; badly affecting their health, well-being and chances of doing well in school.

‘For too long, social housing policy has failed the poorest families. Mr Johnson needs a far more focused and ambitious strategy to urgently halve the number of overcrowded children by 2020.’

Mr Johnson pledged to halve severely overcrowded social homes in London by 2016 in his housing strategy in 2009.

But 4in10 said with 120,000 overcrowded households in social housing in London ‘the target is considered by many as far too little’.

The report states: ‘It makes it difficult to find a quiet space to study and infectious diseases spread more readily in overcrowded conditions.’

4in10 is calling for the mayor to commit to halving the number of children growing up in overcrowded housing without access to adequate space to sleep, learn and play by 2020.

Figures for the report were from charitable foundation Trust for London and the Communities and Local Government department.

4in10 members include the National Housing Federation and homelessness charity Shelter.

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