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Children Face Grim Christmas in Temporary Accommodation: Law Society Warns

Children Face Grim Christmas in Temporary Accommodation: Law Society Warns


Legal aid crucial as thousands of kids endure temporary housing crisis

The Law Society of England and Wales has raised an alarming concern about the plight of thousands of children who might spend Christmas in temporary accommodations due to evictions, highlighting the crucial role of early legal advice in preventing such situations.

According to the Ministry of Justice's latest statistics from July to September 2023, there has been a 14% increase in mortgage possession claims and a 19% increase in landlord possession claims compared to the same period last year. Notably, 35% of landlord possession claims were from social landlords, while 30% came from private landlords.

Worryingly, the data reveals that 138,930 children are currently residing in temporary accommodations, with 4,480 households with dependent children forced into bed and breakfasts. This marks a staggering 93.1% increase from April to June 2022.

As evictions and repossessions rise, the Law Society emphasizes the urgent need for accessible housing legal aid for individuals unable to afford legal support. This aid could potentially assist those in retaining their homes or provide guidance to those compelled to vacate, supporting their next steps.

Law Society President Nick Emmerson expressed deep concern, stating, "It is unacceptable for numerous children and families to spend Christmas in temporary accommodations, potentially avoidable if early legal advice had been accessible."

He highlighted the impact of soaring living costs and high interest rates on people's ability to sustain their homes, emphasizing the critical necessity for accessible legal assistance in housing matters. Shockingly, research indicates that 25.3 million people (42%) lack access to local legal aid providers for housing advice.

The Law Society calls upon the UK government to address these pressing issues by ensuring the practical availability of housing legal aid for individuals facing eviction or repossession, emphasizing the need for tangible solutions rather than theoretical provisions.

Emmerson concluded, "No individual should endure the plight of spending Christmas in cramped temporary accommodations, especially when early intervention could have averted this crisis."