Newham leading way in providing emergency accommodation for homeless families

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 December 2019

How the flats in Romford Road would look. Picture: Bedu

How the flats in Romford Road would look. Picture: Bedu


Specialist emergency accommodation for homeless families is set to be built in east London for the first time.

Newham Council this week approved plans for 27 units in Romford Road designed for homeless families of two to five people.

As well as the self-contained units, the development includes outdoor space for children to play.

The scheme, by developers Bedu, is first of its kind and the company said it will now look at rolling the model out across other London boroughs.

Newham's local development committee heard that due to the shortage of purpose-built temporary accommodation in London there are significant difficulties housing homeless families.

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This means that families are often forced out of London and children away from their schools and friends.

The alternative is to place them into homeless hostels, which are also used to house single adults who may have mental health or drug addiction problems or have been recently released from prison. In this situation, families often have to share bathrooms and kitchen areas with other hostel users.

Hussein Ridha, from Bedu, said: "The impact on children going through loss of their home in London is exacerbated by having to be placed into such hostels with other vulnerable adults. The family would typically be split up into different hostel rooms and have to cook or bath in communal facilities in what inherently feels like unstable environment that is not suitable for families.

"Our accommodation seeks to address this and focuses on the child's experience. It provides space for children to play outdoors in direct view of the accommodation."

Newham currently has more than 2,000 homeless families on its housing register.

Mr Ridha added: "The idea of a community and a cluster of homes, each with its own front door, sets a new standard in emergency accommodation.

"We have struggled to get local authorities to accept such specialist emergency family accommodation, but Newham have had the foresight to lead the way."

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