The calls come after an investigation by The Independent uncovered cases of homeless children dying from neglect and abuse after families were moved out of their local authority boundaries. Other evidence in the report suggested that the transfer of homeless families to other parts of the country could have resulted in suicides and miscarriages.
Councils are shunting homeless families out of their local areas on an unprecedented scale to save money on accommodation, as the legacy of the housing crisis and the the Government’s cuts to welfare are felt, but they are frequently neglecting to share records with each other, meaning thousands of vulnerable women and children are completely off the radar of support services.
Figures obtained exclusively by The Independent show that at least 64,704 homeless families were moved out by London boroughs between July 2011 and June 2015, with more recent data yet to be collated.
The Independent’s research suggests at least one third of families are moved without information being shared with the receiving council, though it is not known how high that figure could potentially be. Councils are legally obliged to send notification under Section 208 of the Housing Act 1996.
Charities and politicians are demanding urgent changes to housing policy across Britain and warning that thousands of homeless children’s lives may be at risk because they are disappearing from support services after being rehoused.