ODPM revises guide to housing homeless families

The Office of Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is to revise its
Homeless Code of Guidance to include higher standards for housing
homeless families in temporary accommodation, writes
Shirley Kumar

The revised code will act as best practice and provide guidance to
ensure that homeless households receive support for health,
education and welfare needs.

First published in July 2002, it will now take into account the
outlawing of B&Bs accommodation for families with children for
more than six weeks, from April 1 2004.

At present the ODPM does not stipulate what type of accommodation
councils must use to re-house families with children.

The move follows the launch of the Living in Limbo report from
homeless charity Shelter. The report shows temporary accommodation
in England was having a “devastating impact” on
children’s health, education and job opportunities.

It found that two thirds of the 417 families surveyed said their
children had problems at school with the average child missing 55
days a year due to the disruptions of moves into and between
temporary accommodations.

Nearly half described their children as “often unhappy or
depressed”. Only a fifth of families with children younger
than four years old were accessing Sure Start.

The charity wants the Government to improve temporary housing and
“make investment in decent affordable housing a top
priority” in the upcoming Spending Review in July.

Shelter spokeswoman said, “Families with four children may be
kept in a one bedroom flats or in hard to rent council stock or
private accommodation that is damp and in bad condition. Others may
be moved many times due to private landlord leases

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