A charity is calling for support from the public to help councils in the capital cope with families in temporary accommodation.

Housing charity Shelter says thousands of families in London are living in limbo in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation as councils struggle to cope.

The comments come after Harrow Borough Council announced last week that it would have to move up to 50 homeless families out of London as the authority could no longer afford to house them in temporary accommodation.

The council says it does not have enough stock to house people in the borough and keeping them in B&Bs costs the authority £1.4million a year.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Rob said: “It’s appalling that in one of the wealthiest cities in the world there are forgotten homeless children, hidden from view in temporary accommodation that offers them no stability and that can be unsafe and in poor condition.

“And sadly, with more people struggling to make ends meet, we’re bracing ourselves for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our help.

“In the meantime, we urgently need more support to make sure our expert advisers can continue to be there for families facing homelessness day after day.”

Harrow also plans to house people in empty council housing stock when it becomes available. It is estimated about 80 families will be part of this scheme.

They authority has one of the smallest housing stocks in London with fewer than 5,000 homes under its control.

During the past 20 years the council has approximately half of its housing stock though government policies such as right to buy.