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Children suffer from bad housing

PUBLISHED: 00:17 13 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

THOUSANDS of children in run-down housing are suffering from serious and prolonged illnesses which are being made worse by appalling living conditions, it was claimed today.

THOUSANDS of children in run-down housing are suffering from serious and prolonged illnesses which are being made worse by appalling living conditions, it was claimed today.

Some 750,000 children in England live in poor housing, with many inhabiting damp, mouldy and overcrowded homes — conditions which are linked to gastroenteritis and asthma, according to a report published by the campaign group Shelter.

An analysis of calls to its Shelterline service found that health problems ranked third in the proportion of calls to its housing helpline, coming after homelessness itself, and eviction threats.

The report — entitled Home Sick: Shelter and Bradford & Bingley's Campaign for Healthy Homes — discloses that more than 6,000 homeless and badly-housed people in England called Shelterline with health problems in the helpline's first three years.

Many were not getting the help with their housing which could prevent them from falling sick, the report said.

It estimated that 100,000 children became homeless every year, of whom many were then forced into temporary accommodation which could be even worse — families of four or more could be crammed into one room and standards were often dangerously low.

Shelter director Chris Holmes said: "Most people's home provides them with somewhere warm, comfortable and safe to live.

"But for others it can be a nightmare from the moment they wake up to the day's end.

"Damp run-down housing is causing misery for thousands of people."

A spokeswoman for the National Asthma Campaign said: "It's distressing to see how many children could have their health affected by their homes.

"We know that there is a link between poor housing conditions and asthma and so it's important that problems such as damp, poor ventilation and inadequate heating are resolved as quickly as possible to avoid worsening symptoms and possible hospital admissions."


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