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Cramped and grotty rooms go on display at Ikea to highlight plight of homeless

Temporary accommodation setups described as “cramped, dangerous and grotty” have gone on display in Ikea stores across the UK to highlight the conditions homeless people are facing.

Charity Shelter said hostels and bed and breakfasts are the reality for too many families currently “stuck” in temporary accommodation.

The organisation said it fears more people will become homeless this year amid the cost-of-living crisis and called on the Government to build good quality social housing.

The displays are meant to show the cramped, dangerous, and grotty spaces more people are living in (Dave Phillips/PinPep/PA)
The displays are meant to show the cramped, dangerous and grotty spaces more people are living in (Dave Phillips/PinPep/PA)

Shelter said 59% of people think the housing emergency in the UK is worse than it has ever been, with 21% of adults worried about losing their current home and 49% saying if they did they would struggle to find somewhere else to live.

The charity said its poll of 4,000 respondents by Opinium in February illustrated the “devastating consequences of a cost-of-living crisis meeting the housing emergency”.

The so-called Real Life Roomsets, which have gone on display at Ikea’s Birmingham, Warrington, Bristol and Hammersmith stores, tell the story of four people in the UK who have found themselves in temporary accommodation.

They include a qualified nurse and teacher who lost her job and home after the pandemic – and was forced to flee her rented accommodation with her daughter after suffering severe domestic abuse and harassment from an ex-partner.

Another woman, a mother-of-three, ended up in accommodation with black mould.

The charity said each roomset highlights the “cramped, dangerous and grotty spaces that an increasing number of people who are experiencing homelessness are forced to experience when living in temporary accommodation”.

Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive, said: “A grotty hostel or B&B is not a home but this is the reality for too many families stuck in temporary accommodation.

“That’s why we’re working with Ikea to show the grim living situations that families who become homeless are having to face – from having no space for children to do homework or play, to having to share beds, to being moved miles away from schools and support networks.

“With rents at an all-time high and no end to the cost-of-living crisis in sight, we’re desperately worried that more people are going to become homeless this year. The solution to this crisis is simple and it’s staring the Government in the face: we must build a new generation of good quality social housing that people can actually afford to live in.”