Overcrowded homes crisis

Research from Shelter reveals that children have to share a bedroom with their parents in almost three- quarters of overcrowded homes.

The report, Full House?, also says one in 10 families in cramped housing have teenagers of opposite sexes who are forced to sleep in the same room.

The charity is to put pressure on chancellor Gordon Brown to fund more family-sized social rented homes to ease the overcrowding crisis.

Shelter warns that if the impact of overcrowding is the same across all types of housing, 268,000 children in England could be sharing a bedroom with their parents, with as many as 72,000 overcrowded teenagers of opposite sexes potentially being forced to sleep in the same rooms.

The survey also states that in over a quarter of overcrowded families in social rented housing, children have to sleep in rooms other than bedrooms such as lounges, dining rooms or kitchens, due to a lack of space. This could affect 98,000 children across the country.

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, says: “Giving children the space to grow and learn ought to be a realistic expectation in 21st century Britain. Yet today the health, education and chances of thousands of youngsters are being blighted by cramped conditions that have more in common with the Dickensian era than those of a modern, thriving nation.”

He adds: “Over a year since legislation was passed making it possible to modernise our antiquated overcrowding laws the government must urgently publish its proposals for updating them.

“But most importantly, Brown must fund the social rented family-sized homes this country needs to end the misery of overcrowding.”