71,000 children in England are homeless at Christmas

By staff writers
26 Dec 2010

More than 71,000 children will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation without the safety and security of a home to call their own, says Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

Figures for the third quarter of 2010 which were recently released by the Department of Communities and Local Government, showed that 71455 children in England alone are living in temorary accomodation. They will spend Christmas in hostels, bed and breakfasts, refuges and temporary private rented accommodation.

Some families will have to move several times and could wait years before they are offered a permanent place to live. The upheaval and the uncertainty of living in temporary accommodation can have a devastating effect on children’s health, education and future chances in life.

Shelter is warning that the combination of government cuts, rising unemployment and increases in the cost of living could mean many more children and their families losing their homes next year.

Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: ‘It’s heartbreaking to think that the only Christmas wish for tens of thousands of children across the country is for a permanent home to call their own.

‘Living in temporary accommodation has a terrible impact on children’s lives, robbing them of security and stability at the very time they need it most. Sadly, the cost to their education, health and wellbeing is sometimes beyond repair.

‘We cannot continue to let children pay the price for our housing crisis. With tough times ahead next year, the Government must to do everything it can to prevent more futures being blighted by homelessness.’

The newly formed campaigning alliance Housing Emergency has called on the government to cap rents rather than housing benefit; to protect security of tenure and for action to prevent evictions due to cuts in housing benefit. It also opposes the introduction of an 80 per cent market rent and demands the building or new council housing along with the improvement of existing homes.

[Ekk/4]

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