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Shipping containers 'used to house homeless children'

(123 Posts)
mostlyharmless Wed 21-Aug-19 11:57:37

This is just shocking!
Children and families need proper homes. They need secure, decent, spacious, well insulated homes with play areas. They need a community with schools, shops, playgrounds, youth clubs, Not metal containers parked on derelict land where vandalism and anti-social behaviour means kids are kept indoors for safety.
Surely we owe the next generation a better life than this?

mostlyharmless Wed 21-Aug-19 12:01:30

EllanVannin Wed 21-Aug-19 12:27:18

When I was listening to this this morning I thought it was some shanty town in darkest Africa until I sat down and watched the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

How horrendous is this ?? This country is definitely going backwards !

There are literally thousands of homes left empty and rotting. The council should seize them after a certain length of time and start renovating these eye-sores into habitable accommodation for these families. This is totally shocking besides being heartbreaking too.

rosecarmel Wed 21-Aug-19 13:39:23

It's inhumane- And the simple fact that this thread isn't slammed with responses reveals peoples complete disinterest in children and the ever growing circumstance- They'd much rather prattle on about Harry and seek soothing for their own first world matters from the comfort of their cozy homes-

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 13:40:54

My council does exactly that, but it can only afford to buy a few dwellings a year, which is nowhere near enough to cover the need. I live in quite a wealthy area, so the need isn't massive. Nevertheless, I know that families are being housed in cramped b and bs with families in one room.

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 13:41:37

Rosecarmel, sit down because this might shock you. I agree with you.

gillybob Wed 21-Aug-19 13:45:05

This was discussed on local radio this morning. Apparently there are over 200,000 children living like this in the UK , a figure I find both shocking and very sad.

Firstly I think we should be ashamed that this is the case.
Secondly there are so many people with more money than they could ever know what to do with. How do they sleep at night ?
Thirdly why are we allowing perfectly good houses to stand empty for years on end?

I also watched a documentary about this (I think it was Ross Kemp on homelessness, which showed the problem first hand. Families being given shoe box accommodation in order to get them off the housing list.

rosecarmel Wed 21-Aug-19 13:48:39

So someone lives in a wealthy area (not to brag or anything) and their council "can only afford" to purchase a few dwellings- (wtf?) And since the need isn't massive in that area is the reason that their collective wealth isn't shifted to areas that are in need-

rosecarmel Wed 21-Aug-19 13:49:35

I usually prefer to stand!

RosieLeah Wed 21-Aug-19 13:53:28

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GillT57 Wed 21-Aug-19 13:55:25

This is an absolute disgrace, and with Esther McVey as Housing Minister it is not going to get any better. Our government is a disgrace, and I include our weak, ineffective opposition Labour party in that criticism. How on earth can children learn at school, take advantage of their education when they are going home to a B&B, have nowhere quiet to do their homework, are likely mal nourished? Not only that, they are sharing bathrooms with other people who have in some cases just come out of prison or are on bail, how on earth can that be a safe place for a child?

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 13:56:35

I'm not bragging. I've live here half my life and don't own my own home, so I'm one of the poorest people living here. I mentioned it to put the buying of a few homes into context. Homelessness isn't a huge problem here, but even so, there are problems. There are many more problems in poorer areas. It can actually be a bit grim at times being poor in a wealthy area because nobody really understands your situation and there aren't the facilities for poorer people.

As a matter of fact, the way council tax is paid to central government and redistributed does mean that we pay more into the general kitty than we receive. The Conservatives changed the formula, so that less goes to needy areas.

Jane10 Wed 21-Aug-19 13:58:54

It's a side issue but shipping containers are used for this all over the world. Some architects are using them to build interesting buildings. My opposite number Gran works in an office that's been created in a shipping container. It's very nice and well fitted out. No worse than some prefab houses I've seen.
Look beyond the headlines - recycling imaginatively perhaps?

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 14:04:48

RosieLeah, I was homeless for six weeks with two young children in tow. I'm not going to go into specific details, because it was messy and even now it pains me.

I was working full-time in a graduate level job, had owned my own home since I was in my late 20s, but I divorced and then became ill. I was forced out of my job and lost my home.

I wasn't evicted, had never not paid mortgage/rent and my home certainly wasn't a pigsty.

I now do charity work with people who have been homeless or are living very much on the breadline. I can't give you an exact figure to answer your question, but it's almost certainly much lower than you seem to think. People become homeless for all sorts of reasons.

PS. I'm not an illegal immigrant either.

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 14:07:18

The trouble is Jane that some families are being homed in a single container, in some cases for months. Security isn't that good and heating is inadequate.

I've actually seen one and it would make quite a nice holiday retreat for a week or so, but not as a permanent home.

GillT57 Wed 21-Aug-19 14:13:50

Rosieleah, even assuming that what you say is partly correct, we know that some parents are not perfect, some are feckless, but the majority are not and sometimes circumstances can change swiftly and catastrophically. It can be as s simple as a minimum wage job parent being ill, a child being ill and suddenly everything falls apart. But, even if some are feckless, and 'at fault' surely this is not the fault of the children? Shouldn't these children be given the opportunity to learn, to work, to self support, to stop the same problems happening?

M0nica Wed 21-Aug-19 14:13:54

Roseleah the family interviewed on The World at One (R4), had a seriously disabled son (autism and learning disability) and they had been evicted three times because of him.

Surely a family like this, of all families, should be a the top of the housing list and be being prioritsed for a proper home. One of the reasons they get evicted is because the rented homes are unsuitable for him, no outdoor space where he can safely run around. He is then incarcerated in the house, with all the windows locked as if it was a prison and his behaviour, obviously deteriorates (have you any experience of children like this, if you had, and I have, you would understand the pressures this puts on a family).

I am not sure whether you own or rent your house, but you are clearly completely unaware that rents have been rocketing in recent years, especially in London and big conurbations. A family may be happily esconced in a flat, but then the rent goes up and they ahve to move out because they cannot afford the rent and cannot find anything other suitable accommodation they can afford.

None will be illegal immigrants because they are not entitled to council accommodation and councils are not even allowed to provide tem with temporary accommodation.

roselah I dislike expressing adverse comments on people on GN but I find the views expressed in your post utterly contemptible.

Grany Wed 21-Aug-19 14:17:13

RosieLeah How do people become homeless?
Not enough social housing built.
The Tories are building very few houses that is why.

gillybob Wed 21-Aug-19 14:17:37

There are many reasons why someone could become homeless RosieLeah .

Loss of a job and unable to pay existing mortgage or rent.
Breakdown in marriage or relationship.
Breakdown in relationship with parent
A new stepparent coming on the scene
Death of a parent
Death of a partner
Private landlords wanting property back
Private landlords inflating rent to unsustainable levels

and probably another 100 reasons on top.

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 14:17:43

From my own experience of working with vulnerable families, I would say that about half of homelessness (and I don't deal with people living on the street) is the result of divorce/failed relationships and a high percentage involves people with quite serious mental health issues.

growstuff Wed 21-Aug-19 14:21:02

Landlords often demand a proven annual wage 30x the monthly rent. So a rent of, say £1000pm (which isn't untypical for a 2 bed property in my area) would need a wage of £30,000 a year. That's just to get into a property in the first place.

janipat Wed 21-Aug-19 14:22:56

Harsh response rosecarmel, some of us have only just come on gransnet. Of course it's unacceptable except as very short-term emergency accommodation. Perhaps better suited to adults only though. These containers can be insulated and converted into perfectly nice homes, in decent locations. I'm sure I saw a project on TV some years ago where just that has happened.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 21-Aug-19 14:23:40

I heard some of the interview on the news this morning, I was appalled.

This is not a situation that can be sorted out quickly, but needs a well thought out long term plan.

Brown field sites need to be released for social housing as opposed to building on green belt which in 99.9% of cases will be strongly opposed.

We have had a building boom of flats in our small commuter belt village (not big enough to be called a town) they are half rent/half buy properties along with housing association owned.

I believe that there are a lot of families in B & B "temporary" accommodation in the Southend area.

Dinahmo Wed 21-Aug-19 14:37:29

Jane10 Using a container for an office by someone who can afford to make the necessary changes is different to using containers for the homeless. If you watch George Clarke's Amazing Small Spaces you will see more than one development that has used containers. The one I particularly remember used 2 containers endways on. It was designed by George's sidekick Will Hardy and the conversion was done by Will's team. Very nice it was too.

A lady was quoted on the news this morning as having to sleep with the container door open at night because it was too hot for her and her baby. These containers aren't placed in some nice location.

Growstuff I'm sorry to hear about your earlier problems and I hope that they have been sorted.

RosieLeah There are apparently around 210,000 children/young people who are living in temporary accommodation right now. This problem started with Thatcher selling off council houses. Nothing wrong with that but the councils weren't allowed to use the money raised to build more social housing. So of course we can blame the Tories.

So much of what has gone wrong during the last 10 years can be laid at the Tories door.

Back in the late 60s a friend did voluntary work for St Mungo's, a charity in London for the homeless. I remember her telling me about one of the people she came across. His marriage had fallen apart, he'd lost his job and ended up homeless. I can't remember more details but it was a long time ago. That memory has always stayed with me - that many people are homeless not through choice. There but for the grace of God etc etc.

Unfortunately many people are housed in unsuitable accommodation. Tower blocks for example. There are former council blocks in Clapham for example, sold off to developers who turned them into bijou residences for couples/singles with sports facilities, porters etc etc. Very nice too, but not for families with children who were previously housed in them.

These problems go back to Thatcher and the sale of council houses. Nothing wrong with that except that the councils didn't plough the money back in to social housing because they weren't allowed to.

gillybob Wed 21-Aug-19 14:43:09

I have said a million times on Gransnet (okay so slight exaggeration) that the current council tax system is very wrong! With the poorest people in the poorest areas being forced to pay the very highest levels .