Housing Shortage harming most Vulnerable Families

The housing shortage across the UK is harming some of the most vulnerable families according to Judge Nicholas Crichton, who has also claimed that it is the children of most of these families that are the ones losing out. He went on to say that it is difficult for parents who are attempting to be reunited with their children who have been put into care, as there is very little safe and affordable housing, meaning that many are living in tower blocks with “drug dealers knocking on the door”.

Judge Crichton is particularly concerned over the lack of housing for families that have had drug or alcohol problems in the past and therefore need to be housed somewhere away from those that could negatively influence them. He said: “There is a serious shortage of housing in London and that makes it hard to find suitable accommodation for the families that we work with. There is no point sending them back to high-rise tower blocks where they are going to have drug dealers knocking on the door. These parents want to keep their community support, their family support, and their children in the same school and it is no good saying we can find them homes somewhere else.”

“So we have got people living in hostels and bed and breakfast, which is not a good way to bring children up. Alcohol and drugs are the main problem, but shortage of housing does not help.” Judge Crichton set up the Family Drug and Alcohol Court five years ago in order to help parents who have lost their children through drug abuse go through treatment and eventually be reunited, but only after three months of abstinence and three months of working with staff to identify relapse triggers. After nine months the parents are allowed to be reunited with their children and finally after a year it is hoped that the children will be returned to them permanently.

As Judge Crichton pointed out however, it is often difficult to reunite families unless there is somewhere suitable to live. Landlords in the private rented sector are often wary of helping out families that have been though drug and alcohol problems, however with the right legal protection and landlord insurance they could find it to be extremely rewarding.

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