Kids 'going to school hungry' after being kicked out of homes and forced to live in bleak B&Bs

Landlords have been warned to 'think of the consequences' on renters evicted by S.21 as calls to Shelter helpline 'skyrocket'
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Birmingham's Shelter boss has opened up on the reality for children evicted from their homes as no-fault evictions skyrocket. Kids are going hungry to school and parents are having to give up work as more and more households are forced into homelessness, often becoming stuck in 'unfit' B&Bs, hostels or hotels.

Gareth Webber, service manager for the Birmingham hub, warned landlords to "think of the consequences" on families and young children in the city as he called for S.21s, where a landlord does not need to give a reason for eviction, to be axed. Every city school he works with now has at least some pupils living in temporary accommodation, he says.

He highlighted the damage to children suffering in emergency housing, including "going to school hungry" and having nowhere to play. No-fault evictions, a major contributing factor to the rising homelessness across England, are also having a snowballing impact on parents too.

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He told BirminghamLive: "We do a lot of work with schools, I was talking to a pastoral staff member and she was sharing the reality of having kids who are living in temporary accomodation. The impact is, they're often having to travel long distances because they're placed well away from the areas they were living, and the areas in which they go to school.

"It impacts on their ability to concentrate if they're having to get up ridiculously early to travel an hour or more to get to school, that has a real impact. Kids are going to school hungry because actually preparing food and meals is challenging in that bleak bed and breakfast environment.

"We've got the reality that kids have got limited places to play, to do their homework, kids are reporting issues around their physical and mental wellbeing as a direct result of their housing situation.

"I have conversations with staff in education and they're seeing that on a regular basis within their schools, I don't know any school we've spoken to that hasn't had kids living in temporary accomodation and for kids it's so damaging, it has such a massive impact on those early years of development. And it's so unnecessary."

Shelter is currently calling for an overhaul of the Renters Reform Bill as it says proposed legislation is "weak" and needs to ensure Section 21s are abolished for good. He urged landlords to think of the impact before issuing such a notice to their tenants.

He added: "I think landlords really need to think of the impact it has on renters, to actually look at the consequences of section 21 notice has."

He accepted that some landlords may themselves be impacted by the cost of living crisis and need their properties back to live in - or to move in family members. However he said: "I don't think that's necessarily true for the majority of landlords, I think unfortunately there is a precedent where landlords are realising that they've got a tenant that's been sitting in a property for quite a long time, they might as well be on a what would be considered a relatively low rent rate.

"So the reality is if a landlord can evict somebody and bring in a new tenant, with a much higher monthly rental." For more information on Section 21s, see the Shelter website.

Have you been affected by section 21 no fault eviction in Birmingham? We would like to share your story. You can contact us by emailing stephanie.balloo@reachplc.com