Hundreds of Yorkshire children homeless at Christmas

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Harrowing figures show that hundreds of children in Yorkshire and the Humber face being homeless this Christmas, housing charity Shelter has found.

Analysis of government figures shows that an anticipated 630 children will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation in Yorkshire as they have nowhere else to live. And, the charity has warned, the number of families living in emergency B&B and hostel rooms across the country has risen by nearly a fifth in the last year as councils battle to find them somewhere suitable to stay.

“News that over 600 children face spending Christmas homeless in Yorkshire and the Humber will bring heartache to thousands of people across the region,” said Tracey Nathan, Shelter Sheffield hub manager. “But the sad fact is, 50 years since Shelter was founded, too many families still need our help.”

With a new family becoming homeless every 10 minutes in the UK, Shelter is calling on the public to support its frontline advisers as they grapple with the increasing demand for help.

Across Yorkshire, The Yorkshire Post revealed last month, there has been a 15 per cent spike in the number of the highest priority applications for help to local authorities. This rise, in the number of applications from vulnerable people or families with young children, has largely been put down to an inability to keep up with drastically rising rents as the private rental market has rapidly expanded.

In in-depth interviews with a small number of families, Shelter found that three quarters felt their temporary accommodation was unsafe, with some citing exposure to drug abuse, fighting, and strangers sleeping in the corridors. Every family lived in a single room without any space for the children to play, and over half of parents also had to share a bed with their children.

“Almost daily at our Sheffield hub our advisers speak to parents desperate to find somewhere safe and affordable they can raise their family,” said Ms Nathan. “Imagine losing your home and being forced to live in temporary accommodation, often for months on end, never knowing when you might have a place to call home again – this is the kind of emotional and mental turmoil no parent wants their child to endure.

“That’s why we urgently need the public’s support to help us to continue to be there.”