One in every 205 Rugby children had no permanent home during 2019 - The Rugby Observer

One in every 205 Rugby children had no permanent home during 2019

Rugby Editorial 5th Dec, 2019   0

ONE in every 205 children in Rugby has been without a home during 2019.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) said the maximum number of homeless children in temporary accommodation recorded in the borough this year was 123 – a rise of over 390 per cent from the first quarter of 2013, when there were 24.

An RBC spokesman said the need to empty high-rise blocks at Biart Place and Rounds Gardens, which are to be replaced due to poor build quality, had increased demand for temporary housing this year.

He said: “This increase has placed extra pressure on our limited housing stock, and led to an increase in the number of people placed in temporary accommodation.

“The council has launched a number of innovative projects to tackle homelessness in the borough.”

Diana Mansell, chair of Rugby homelessness charity Hope4, said the figures were ‘deeply troubling’, adding that the number of children accessing the charity’s food bank had risen by a ‘shocking’ 37 per cent in just one year.

She said: “We would call upon politicians of all parties to ensure everyone has access to secure, suitable, long-term affordable housing; to end the five week wait for Universal Credit that often drives people to the food bank just to feed their children; to ensure benefit payments cover the cost of living; and to invest in local emergency support for people in crisis.

“Social housing desperately needs to be built so that the needs of those who are most vulnerable in society can be met.”

Conservative election candidate Mark Pawsey said one child living in temporary accommodation was ‘one too many’, adding that vacating the tower blocks had impacted the figures.

He said: “It is now imperative that RBC replenishes its housing stock with new high-quality social housing for local families. I am already working closely with councillors and officers to secure government support and funding to ensure this happens as swiftly as possible.”

Labour candidate Debbie Bannigan said the figures were ‘shocking’, blaming cuts in services, deregulation of the housing market, and Universal Credit delays.

She said: “Homelessness should be abhorrent to all of us, especially when children are being let down so badly.

“We will put powers back in the hands of councils to ensure developments meet the needs of local people, invest in social housing, and clamp down on rogue landlords.”

Liberal Democrat Rana Das-Gupta said the town needed a stronger strategy to tackle budgeting, health and wellbeing, work, mentoring, and housing.

He said: “Universal Credit delays and the increase in rents by private landlords has added to the problem.

“We would introduce a duty on local authorities to provide immediate emergency accommodation, abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, and increase Local Housing Allowance payments.”

Green Party candidate Becca Stevenson said the figures were ‘heart-breaking’, attributing them to Universal Credit and a lack of council funding.

She said: “The system is failing families who find themselves in hard times.

“We will devolve powers to local government and reverse spending cuts to allow decisions on Rugby’s services to meet the needs of the area, and build new social housing at a rate of 100,000 sustainable homes a year nationally.”


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