Child homelessness to hit eight year high

The number of children who are homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas will hit an eight-year year high of more than 120,000, according to new analysis.

Housing charity Shelter said the data was up 12 per cent on a year ago, with children who are homes becoming more likely to be in poor health, and more likely to suffer mental health problems.

The Desperate to Escape report said: “Because of the rising cost and shortage of housing, coupled with budget cuts, councils are finding it difficult to find suitable, settled homes for families. Consequently, more and more families are stuck in temporary accommodation, unable to move on.”

Shelter also conducted interviews with 25 families currently living in emergency B&Bs, hostels or sofa-surfing, about half of whom had been in that situation for longer than six months. The charity found that more than two-thirds felt their children’s mental and emotional health had been badly affected by their situation, with children becoming anxious, sleep deprived and isolated from friends.

The analysis discovered that every family lived in a single room without any space for the children to play, and more than half of parents had to share a bed with their children. Additionally, more than three-quarters of families said they felt their accommodation was unsafe, with the worst accounts involving exposure to drug abuse and fighting, and strangers sleeping in the corridors.