Nearly two-thirds of homeless adults placed in temporary accommodation in the capital by its local authorities are women, according to government statistics compiled by cross-party body London Councils.
The research shows that approximately 42,000 occupants of temporary housing in London are adult females, equating to 65 per cent, compared with 21,7000 men.
London Councils, which represents all 33 of the capital’s local authorities, also found that nearly 40 per cent of homeless households temporarily housed are headed by single mothers and that more than 86,000 children live in temporary dwellings in the city.
Released on International Women’s Day, the figures demonstrate “the shocking scale of the capital’s family homelessness crisis and the particularly severe impact on women,” London Councils says.
London Councils also believes women are more likely than men to experience so-called “hidden homelessness” – the type dealt with informally by means of staying with family and friends or squatting and therefore not known to councils or reflected in official figures.
The body states that the high cost of housing in London is the key factor behind most homelessness cases of all kinds, but stresses that specific challenges such as escaping from domestic abuse particularly affect women and cause them to turn to their local authorities for help.
Darren Rodwell, executive member for housing and planning at London Councils, said “the specific challenges around women’s homelessness are too often overlooked” and expressed “huge concern” about the number of women in London affected.
Temporary accommodation, such as a private rented dwellings, bed and breakfast or hostels, is arranged by a local authority when finds it has a legal responsibility to provide a home but has nothing suitable of its own available. These can be very short-term.
Approximately two-thirds of all homelessness in England is in the capital city. London Councils says its members spend almost £1 billion a year on helping homeless people with their needs.
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