Kingston children being 'raised in squalor' due to lack of social housing
Poor families in Kingston are raising children in squalor and grinding poverty because there is not enough good quality social housing, according to a charity.
Family support charity Home-Start works with about 35 families from all walks of life providing volunteers to help them in times of crisis.
Co-ordinator Karen Penney said: “Some of the housing I have been to, honestly, I wouldn’t keep a dog in and people are having to raise their children in them.
“People don’t want to raise their children in squalor.
“You can’t have children [living in houses] with mould on the walls but we have.
“[They are] damp, with rot in the walls, ripped carpets, mattresses on the floor, like squats.
“The poverty we are talking about is real, grinding poverty and it is in this borough, it might not be visible and to everybody’s taste to acknowledge it but there are people living in horrendous circumstances.”
Mrs Penney said Kingston simply did not have enough social housing to cope.
She said: “There are people letting properties we are obviously paying for but the quality of some of the private lets is appalling.
“There’s not enough social housing, not enough low rent housing.”
Mrs Penney said that other boroughs were looking for cheaper places to send families to but Kingston was sending people away.
She said: “I know that for Home-Starts in some other boroughs, like Westminster, they’ve got the problem where a lot of people are being forced out.
“I’ve had emails from Westminster saying ‘Is there capacity in Kingston?’ to which my answer was ‘As far as I am concerned, Kingston’s borders are closed’.
“We don’t have the social housing for people here. If we have an influx coming from somewhere else like Westminster, we don’t have anywhere to put them.
“We had a family recently we were going to help and they were sent to Wembley or somewhere, and they had a school aged child. I know that was something the mum was absolutely beside herself over.”
For more information about Home-Start visit home-start-kingston.org.uk or call 020 8296 0654.