Children in crisis: Confronting the stark reality of England’s housing emergency

In England, in 2024 it is hard to believe, yet the stark reality is we have over 240,000 children living in temporary accommodation. An unstable home environment can significantly impact children across various aspects of their lives. The effects of England’s housing emergency are far-reaching and profound

Children experiencing homelessness or frequent moves often suffer from heightened stress, anxiety and feelings of insecurity, which can delay their emotional development and ability to form secure attachments.

Additionally, instability in living situations can disrupt learning and education, exacerbate social isolation and increase the risk of poor physical health outcomes. Trauma and adverse childhood experiences associated with housing instability can have long-lasting implications for children’s overall wellbeing and future opportunities.

The fact is we have far too many individuals and families trapped in a vicious cycle, moving from one temporary home to another without any sense of stability or security.

Yet, amidst these struggles, it’s easy for some to feel disconnected from the issue. Imagine this happening to your children. We can’t because the likelihood is if you’re reading this you are employed, have a home and can keep your children safe and secure. It doesn’t impact us, right?

However, the truth is that the ripple effects of housing instability extend far beyond those directly affected, placing strain on vital public services like education, healthcare and the justice system, while contributing to a deepening mental health crisis. It’s a societal issue that impacts us all, underscoring the fundamental right of everyone to have a safe place to call home.

Governments have failed to provide social housing

So, what is holding us back? Is it the bureaucratic red tape, lack of bold decisions and vested interests hindering progress?

Is it the lack of land, given only 8% of the UK is built on?

Surely, it’s the planning system, or the Nimby’s saying no to development?

“Children experiencing homelessness or frequent moves often suffer from heightened stress, anxiety and feelings of insecurity, which can delay their emotional development and ability to form secure attachments.”

Despite the clear imperative for action, numerous challenges persist, including bureaucratic hurdles, land scarcity and resistance to development. Successive governments have failed to construct an adequate supply of social housing, perpetuating the cycle of instability. To effect real change, we must prioritise the construction of social and truly affordable homes, setting aside profit-driven motives in favour of the well-being of individuals and communities.

It’s time to embrace innovative approaches to housing delivery, focusing on quality, sustainable homes that can be built quickly and efficiently. This necessitates streamlining the planning process, unlocking unused land and exploring alternative funding and investment avenues. Boldness, creativity and education are required to break free from the status quo and pave the way for a brighter future.

Tackling England’s housing emergency

As we confront the housing emergency, we must recognise the collective responsibility we share in ensuring that everyone has access to safe, secure and affordable housing. By putting people and communities at the heart of our decision-making processes, we can work together to create lasting change and build a society where everyone has a place to call home.

Join our call for action: Provide funding to build 90,000 new social homes – Petitions (


Gaynor Tennant

Offsite Alliance


*Please note that this is a commercial profile. 

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