For the 135,000 children who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, Christmas won’t be filled with presents or the dinner with all the trimmings.
Shelter’s Generation Homeless report lays the bare shocking scale of child poverty in the UK as the number of kids without a safe home reaches a 12-year high.
The housing charity have also been able to lift the lid on the rate at which kids are losing their home with one youngster losing their home every eight minutes, amounting to 183 children every single day.
Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the country
That includes kids like Will, 10, who lives in a single room with his mum, dad and younger brother in an emergency B&B in Ilford – they are just one of 5,683 homeless families with children trapped in temporary accommodation.
The way they found themselves in that situation is just as familiar – the loss of a private tenancy after being served a Section 21 notice by their landlord, also known as a no-fault eviction.
“Life in the B&B is horrible, it’s worse than being in a real-life horror film,” said Will. “There’s no room to do anything, even if I’m reading my book, as I’m still going to get annoyed by someone. I’ve been told off by someone for running in the small corridor, you can’t do much, you can’t play much. I don’t get to play that often.
“Sometimes me and my little brother Harry, we fight for the one chair, because we both want to sit at the table, and sometimes he wins and sometimes I win. I find it really hard to do my homework as I get distracted by my little brother and I don’t have another room to work in peace.
“We moved here in September, and they said we were going to stay for six weeks. Then they told us we were going to stay for two more, then they told us it will be another week, then another one.”
Shelter have warned that if the severe lack of social homes, expensive private rents and welfare cuts behind the homelessness crisis are not fixed, 1,647 more children will be homeless by the December 12 general election with 4,026 more by Christmas Day.
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Their report also digs into the areas in England hit hardest by child homelessness, namely London boroughs Kensington and Chelsea, Haringey, Westminster and Newham where 1 in every 12 children are homeless.
Meanwhile outside the English capital, one in every 22 Luton children, one in 30 in Brighton and Hove and one in 47 in Manchester means those locations have the highest concentration of homeless children.
Sometimes me and my little brother Harry, we fight for the one chair, because we both want to sit at the table
“The fact 183 children become homeless every day is a scandalous figure and sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action,” said Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter.
“Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the country. They are being uprooted from friends; living in cold, cramped B&Bs and going to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers outside.
“Every child has the right to a safe home and if we act now, we can help get them to a better place. So, every donation will mean Shelter can be there for the children and families who need us this Christmas.”