A NEW study has found that one in every 103 children in the UK will be homeless this Christmas, further revealing the actual scale of the country’s housing crisis.
There are now an estimated total of 131,000 children who are homeless, that is around 50,000 more than five years ago, which is a rise of 59 per cent – according to government statistics by homelessness charity Shelter. If compared to the end of 2017, it means that 3,000 more children are believed to be homeless. The staggering estimate includes the small number of children sleeping rough and living in insecure temporary accommodation.
These calculations reveal that an average school in Britain now includes five homeless children. There is an average of 28 homeless children for every school in London, where the crisis is at its worst. It is thought that an estimated 9,500 children will spend Christmas Day in a hostel or bed and breakfast, the charity added, warning that the UK’s housing crisis is now being “felt across a generation. Over the last five years, hundreds of thousands of children have known what it’s like to be homeless.”
Greg Beales, director of campaigns at Shelter, said in a statement: “The impact on these young people cannot be overstated. The number of children hidden away in hostels and B&Bs is enough to make anyone’s heart sink. These are not places for children. We hear about cold, damp – even rats,” he added. “Homelessness affects all people, but particularly children,” Patrick Mulrenan, a senior lecturer in community development and leadership at London Metropolitan University, said. “It has a massive effect on their education.”
“There’s been a long-term trend since 2010 of more people going into temporary accommodation,” said Mulrenan, who was not involved in the study. “We haven’t been building enough affordable, long-term housing for people, particularly in London. There have also been some benefit changes which are making it very difficult for people to maintain their homes,” he added. “Back in the 1970s, you’d be shocked at someone sleeping on the street, and now people become immune to it.”