90,000 UK children facing homelessness at Xmas

Shelter issues emergency appeal and says number of homeless living in bed and breakfasts has nearly doubled in three years.

A total of 90,000 UK children will face Christmas without a home, according to a charity’s analysis of the latest government figures on homelessness in Britain.

Shelter, a charity which helps people in England and Scotland struggling with poor housing or homelessness, said on Monday they would launch an emergency appeal in response to what they said was a crisis.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, called on the public to donate what they could to the emergency appeal, saying: “In the 21st century, it cannot be right that homeless children are experiencing severe emotional distress, facing three-hour round trips to school and having to eat their dinner on the floor.”

He added: “Our advisers will be working tirelessly to support people who find themselves homeless this Christmas, but it’s getting harder and harder for us to be there for every family that needs us.”

‘We urgently need more support from the public to help us make sure no-one has to fight homelessness on their own this Christmas,” said Robb.

‘Shocking’ conditions

Shelter said in a report that, according to government figures, the number of homeless families living in bed and breakfasts had also almost doubled in three years.

It said that this was “particularly alarming” following the charity’s own investigation into living conditions in bed and breakfasts, which they described as “shocking”.

The charities investigation into accommodation revealed that many children felt unsafe in temporary accommodation, with parents reporting exposure to drug and alcohol abuse, fighting, swearing and racist language.

Since the introduction by the British government of austerity measures, including a cap on benefits, many families have struggled with accommodation and household bills with some being forced to move to areas where housing is cheaper, the charity said.

More than one million people in the U.K. have become dependent on food banks since the austerity measures were put in place.

Read the original article published in Anadolu Agency on 3 November 2014

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