End Christmas misery by building family homes, government told

By staff writers
20 Dec 2006

The campaigning Christian homelessness charity Housing Justice has issued a call to the UK government to build more homes – and thereby to end the injustice of families who will be spending an unhappy Christmas in temporary accommodation.

The latest official figures show that while homelessness acceptances by local authorities are at a 20 year low, 93,090 households in England and Wales are accommodated in temporary accommodation under the terms of the homelessness legislation. This figure is 8% less than the same period in 2005 but more than double the level obtaining when Labour came to power in 1997.

Housing Justice says that a key part of the long-term solution is for the government to build more family homes. Alison Gelder, the organisation’s CEO, commented "Using the government figures we estimate that there are at least 170,000 children facing an unhappy Christmas this year in temporary accommodation.”

She continued: ‚ÄúThe government must act to end this situation ¬? we are the fourth richest country in the world so why must they suffer this injustice every day? The government must commit itself to building more family housing to solve the problem in next year's comprehensive spending review."

Ms Gelder said: "The 93,000 families in temporary accommodation are just one of the injustices churches will be thinking about on Homelessness Sunday on 28 January 2007. Other areas we will be looking at include the injustices suffered by homeless people on the streets and in hostels, people in poor housing, Gypsies and travellers denied sites and destitute asylum seekers and workers from countries such as Poland who have no access to benefits or housing.”

She added: “We will be encouraging Christians to think about these and other injustices and offering practical suggestions for action that churches and individuals can take."

Housing Justice has produced a Homelessness Sunday resource pack which includes worship ideas, material for use with children's and youth groups and facts, figures and stories to enable people to consider the plight of those suffering from the injustice of homelessness in all its forms. The packs are available for £5.50. For further information, see www.homelessness-sunday.org.uk

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