70,000 children homeless for Christmas

21 December 2011

A girl

Almost 70,000 children will wake up on Christmas Day in temporary accommodation, without a home to call their own, Shelter reveals today.

Homeless children and their families are living in temporary accommodation including hostels, bed and breakfasts and refuges across the country, according to Government figures.*

Many of these families will be forced to move repeatedly over the coming months and in some cases may have to wait years before they are able to find a permanent place to live.

For many others this will not be the first Christmas they have faced without the security of a home to call their own.

Kay Boycott, Shelter’s Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns said: ‘It’s a shocking fact that every two minutes someone in Britain faces losing their home. All it takes is one small thing like illness or job loss to push families into a spiral of debt and homelessness.’

As more and more families find their finances squeezed by high living costs and rising unemployment Shelter is concerned many more will be pushed over the edge in the coming months.

Ms Boycott continued: ‘It’s simply not right that in an affluent nation like ours, thousands of children will wake up on Christmas day wanting nothing more than a permanent roof over their head.

‘We cannot underestimate the damage homelessness has on children’s lives. They often miss out on vital schooling because they are shunted from place to place and many become ill by the poor conditions they are forced to live in.’

‘At Shelter we know only too well that being made homeless can have a devastating impact on children for years to come and yet many more could face this trauma in the coming months. That’s why we will be doing all we can to help homeless families this Christmas and beyond.’

What can you do to help?

*Data supplied by the Department for Communities and Local Government for Quarter 3 2011 showed 69,846 homeless children in England are living in temporary accommodation.