Cramped housing conditions lead to sleep deprivation and mental health problems yet more than a quarter of a million children in England may have to share a bedroom with their parents, according to research published today.
The survey of more than 500 overcrowded families in social housing by Shelter found almost three quarters of children had to share a bedroom with their parents and one in 10 were forced to pair teenagers of opposite sexes in the same bedroom.
The charity warned that if the impact of overcrowding was replicated across all housing types 268,000 children in England could be sharing with their parents and 72,000 teenagers of opposite sex could be sharing with each other.
The research also found three quarters of families felt their sleep was regularly disturbed by their living arrangements and 86 per cent felt their overcrowding caused depression, anxiety or stress.
Black and minority ethnic communities were twice as likely as white British families to experience overcrowding.
Shelter director Adam Sampson said the future chances of thousands of young people were being blighted by “Dickensian” conditions. He called on the government to fund more social rented family-sized homes.
Meanwhile, research by London homeless charity Broadway has found social and cultural activities offer significant benefit to homeless people.
The report, commissioned by Westminster Primary Care Trust, found the activities improved mental health and offered relief from drug and alcohol problems.