What can be done about overcrowded housing?

Overcrowded housing is detrimental to children and families, causing negative effects on wellbeing, physical health and education.

Overcrowded housing is detrimental to children and families, causing negative effects on wellbeing, physical health and education.

For many families living in social housing, options are limited due to high rents and insecure tenancies in the private rented sector. Lambeth, including the LEAP wards, has long waiting times for social housing, with many families never moving via the housing register.

Our service provides home visiting to overcrowded families sourced from Lambeth Council’s transfer list, and to private renting families from Lambeth’s housing register.

Our support

  • Housing advice: ensuring parents know their rights and up to date information
  • Small space solutions: making personalised, family-led changes in the home. Solutions include an £800 grant for furniture or white goods and decluttering. 
  • Wellbeing: parental wellbeing and the factors that effect this
  • Signposting: other major issues which may have an impact on the parent or the family, such as domestic abuse or finances
  • Local resources: Connecting families with activities, events and services
  • DIY: a basic DIY course, in partnership with a local maker’s space, to empower parents with skills to make changes themselves
  • Training for professionals: training health and LEAP professionals, with Lambeth’s Homelessness Prevention Team, to provide correct and consistent advice

Families can have unrealistic expectations about waiting times. This can be because of lack of information, conflicting information from professionals, or not wanting to believe the facts.  

Many parents no longer see their house as a home, they just want to move. Also, families can be overwhelmed with knowing where to start making changes. It helps to have a fresh pair of eyes to show opportunities and get them to love their homes again.

“I didn’t know how to use the little space that we have… Sometimes it is good when someone comes in with ideas to improve the space. You have changed our minds about the space.” WB

We attempt to overcome these challenges by working with a small amount of families so that support can be intensive and holistic.

By giving families a realistic picture of their housing options they understand that they will be in their properties for a long time.

The £800 grant means that they can buy items such as bunk beds, which means children have their own beds rather than sharing with siblings or parents. These small steps make big changes such as reducing arguments at bed time which have a roll on effect to parental wellbeing and more positive interactions between parents and children. However, we are more than just a housing service. Change in the home cannot always happen if parents have other things on their mind. We build up a relationship with the families to allow them to recognise the obstacles and seek support. Each family and home is different, so we adapt our approach for each.

Our positive outcomes

  • Provided 16 beds, including bunk beds, cabin beds and triple sleeper bunk and sofa beds.
  • Housing priority increased for 7 families
  • 16 / 26 parents reported that the OHS had positively impacted their general wellbeing and their positive wellbeing in their home.

“You have helped me so much I was so stressed… I was so happy because I bought my children's school uniform yesterday, I couldn't afford to do that before and I have somewhere to sleep now!” PD

We are closed to external referrals, however, professionals can contact the service for advice on their cases to ensure families get the best support possible.

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