Housing overcrowding campaign launches in Hackney

Youngsters have described the difficulties they face living in overcrowded homes, as a campaign launches to halve the number of children affected.

Overcrowding affects nearly 10 per cent of households in Hackney – way above the national average of 2.5 per cent and London average of 6.6. per cent.

Growing up in an overcrowded house means children may have to share beds with siblings or sleep on the floor because of a lack of space, and children are more likely to be ill as infectious diseases spread more readily.

Their ability to do well in school is hampered as they have no quiet space to study and disrupted sleep affects their concentration, and frequent illness leading to missed days at school drags down results.

Children at Randal Cremer Primary school shared their experiences at the launch of children’s charity Save the Childre’s 4in10 ‘No Space at Home’ campaign. They want London Mayor Boris Johnson to commit to halving the number of children growing up in overcrowded housing without access to adequate space to sleep, learn and play by 2020.

“I share a room with two sisters, one of them is 21 and one of them is 14, and every time I try to do my homework in there my sister’s boyfriend comes around and they kick me out,” said a Year 6 pupil at the school in Ormsby Street, Hoxton.

“I have to do it in the front room, but then when my mum cleans up I have to do it in the kitchen.

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“Sometimes I feel like it is really sad when I don’t have time to do my homework,” she added.

Edward Ablorh, Randal Cremer’s family support and early intervention’s officer said overcrowding “exposes children to things they shouldn’t see at an early age.”