According to Shelter, which analysed the latest Government figures on homelessness, more than 120,000 children will wake up homeless this Christmas day.
The charity has launched an urgent appeal for support from the public to help it be there for the hundreds of thousands of families affected.
Shelter’s analysis also reveals the number of families living in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation and hostels has risen by 18 per cent in a year.
To highlight the struggles faced by families living in temporary accommodation, the charity carried out in-depth interviews with 25 families that are currently or have recently been living in emergency B&Bs, hostels or ‘sofa-surfing’.
More than three-quarters of families said they felt their accommodation was unsafe. Some had been exposed to drug abuse and fighting.
More than two-thirds reported living in rooms that were in a state of disrepair, with mould, broken beds, stained mattresses, we well as more serious hazards like sparking electrical sockets and windows that wouldn’t close.
Of the 25 families interviewed, 18 said their children’s mental and emotional health had been ‘badly’ affected. Some spoke of their children becoming anxious, isolated from their friends and struggling to sleep. Others said living in temporary accommodation had negatively impacted their child’s development.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said, ‘News of the devastating rise in homeless children will bring heartache to millions of people across Britain. But the sad fact is, 50 years since Shelter was founded, too many families still need our help.
‘Almost daily we hear from parents desperate to escape the single cramped room of a B&B or hostel that they find themselves struggling to raise their children in. Imagine having to eat all of your meals on the floor, share a bed with the rest of your family, or being too frightened to leave your room at night – these are things no parent wants their child to endure.
‘That’s why we urgently need the public’s support to help us be there for the thousands of families who’ll need us this Christmas. Join us and together we will not rest until every homeless child has a place to call home.’
As part of its Christmas appeal, Shelter is also calling on school children to wear their slippers to school on 9 December to raise money in support of homeless children.
- To find out more and sign up for Slippers for Shelter click here