75,000 children will be homeless this Christmas

9 November 2012

A boy and girl

More than 75,000 children in Britain will wake up on Christmas Day without a home, Shelter has warned today.

That’s the equivalent to two children in every primary school in Britain, or enough children to fill 333 primary schools.

Shelter is highlighting the figures to raise awareness of the increasing numbers of homeless families in Britain this Christmas.

Shelter is particularly concerned about families forced to live in B&Bs, which have grown by 57% in the last 12 months. 

This can mean parents and children living together in one room, with limited cooking or laundry facilities in conditions that are often appalling. This year, more than 3,000 children will spend Christmas Day living in this way.

Michelle, who recently approached Shelter for help, was left with two young children and a mortgage when her relationship with her partner ended. She said:

‘After three years, I was made redundant from my part-time job. I struggled to find another job that allowed me to look after the kids.

‘Debts started building up. Depression hit me like a ton of bricks. My home was repossessed and the council refused to help. After intervention from Shelter, I was offered an emergency bedsit. We spent Christmas in a B&B.’

Michelle was finally re-housed by her local council last year.

In December 2011, Shelter helped more than 1,000 people facing homelessness during the festive period. This Christmas, the number of people with nowhere else to turn is expected to be even higher.

Shelter is calling on the public to support our work at this difficult time of year, helping worried families when the worst happens.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said:

‘It’s easy to think of homelessness as single people sleeping rough. The rising numbers of families who lose their home through no fault of their own often aren’t considered. For people with children, ’sofa surfing’ with friends just isn’t a realistic option.’

The main triggers for homelessness include relationship breakdowns, job losses and landlords ending their rental tenancies.

Mr Robb continued:

‘No child should be homeless at Christmas. Every December, Shelter’s helpline and advice centres deal with thousands of people at risk of losing their home. We need everyone’s support in the coming months to prevent families becoming homeless; and to help them find a new home if they do.’

Could you help Shelter this Christmas? Make a donation online or text HOMES to 87085 to give £3 to Shelter’s Emergency Christmas appeal.