Opinion Former Article

Housing quality impacts on children's life chances

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, today contributed to the debate on the housing crisis at the TUC Congress in Brighton to highlight how the current and escalating housing crisis will have a profound and lifelong effect upon the futures of hundreds of thousands of children and young people in the UK.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Since 2010 the Government has failed to address the housing crisis.

“Home ownership is increasingly out of reach for many people, more families are being forced to rent and homelessness is rising.

“Evidence shows that poor housing and homelessness impacts adversely on the educational progress of children and young people.

“Their health is adversely affected and attendance disrupted, as they move from hostel to hostel and other temporary accommodation.

“The lack of affordable housing exacerbates the supply of key workers; in education this is leaving many children without access to specialist support.

“A coherent strategy is needed to tackle housing, poverty and health to secure the future for all children and young people.”

NASUWT Ex-President Geoff Branner, speaking in the debate, said:

“The need for affordable housing is a pressing concern.

“The government’s failure to address the escalating housing crisis has had and is having a profound and lifelong effect upon the futures of hundreds of thousands of children and young people in the UK today.

“The failure to address this issue by the Government is putting a huge strain on public services and putting those services under threat.

“For children and young people, the link between poor quality housing, or indeed homelessness, and their future outcomes, has been amply demonstrated.”

Notes to editors

Research by Shelter has found that bad housing affects children’s ability to learn at school and study at home.

Homeless children are two to three times more likely to be absent from school than other children.

Children in unfit and overcrowded homes miss school more frequently due to illnesses and infections.

Overcrowding is linked to the delayed development of cognitive and communication skills.

According to official figures in the year up to until March this year, just 125,110 homes were built in England, a shortfall of the 200,000 homes needed this year, meaning that the problem is getting worse.

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