Overcrowding in our Homes

The National Housing Federation has predicted that three million people will be living in overcrowded homes within the next three years.

There will be a 20% rise in the number of families living in overcrowded homes by 2013.

The problem is blamed on the shortage of new homes being built. Action is needed from the political parties; they have to address this ever increasing problem.

During 2009/10 developers built 123,000 homes, the lowest number for 87 years.

There are twenty five per cent of families with five or sometimes even more family members all living in an overcrowded situation. This figure is expected to rise up to twenty eight per cent by 2013.

Some areas are more affected than others; the problem is quite acute across London and the south east. There are 912,000 people living in overcrowded homes across London and this is expected to rise to 1 million by 2013.

Overcrowded living can be immensely detrimental to family life. Living in such cramped conditions can lead to all sorts of problems, both mental health wise and physically. It also puts family relationships under tremendous strain.

During a recession young adults are less likely to form independent households. The recession has added to the increased rates of overcrowding, defined as having more than one person per room in the household. Children of higher income families are more likely to remain at home, affecting the rental market while children from families with higher financial wealth are more likely to form their own new renter households.

Whoever moves into 10 Downing Street need to make affordable housing a priority. All three main parties need to commit now to protecting the housing budget when public spending cuts are to be put in place. It would be a travesty if the housing budget was to be cut.

What is actually meant by overcrowding?

It is officially defined by the government by the one bedroom standard, which is used as an indicator of occupation density. A standard number of bedrooms are allocated to each household in accordance with its age, sex and marital status composition and the relationship of the members to one another.

A separate bedroom is allocated to each married or cohabiting couple, any other person aged 21 or over, each pair of adolescents aged 10-20 of the same sex and each pair of children under 10.

Any unpaired person aged 10-20 is paired, if possible with a child under 10 of the same sex, or, if that is not possible, he or she is given a separate bedroom, as is any unpaired child under 10.

This standard is then compared with the actual number of bedrooms (including bed-sitters) available for the sole use of the household, and differences are tabulated.

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