Urgent appeal launched over homeless children

A national charity is launching an urgent appeal after research uncovered how many children in the borough will spend Christmas homeless.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:56 pm
Homeless family

Shelter is desperately seeking help after finding almost 1,700 children in the North West will wake up in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day this year, the highest figure recorded since 2008.

Government figures analysed by the charity show families in Wigan will be worried about having a roof over their heads on December 25 as there were 24 households with dependent children homeless and eligible for assistance between April and June this year.

Seven of the families had three or more children, while nine had two sons or daughters and eight had one offspring.

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A homeless family

A total of 41 households were in need of help in Wigan and Leigh for the quarter, the data released from the local authority shows.

Shelter says the problem of hidden homelessness, with families including young children staying in temporary accommodation, is growing across the country.

It claims there has a rise of 18 per cent in households living in emergency B&Bs and hostel rooms in a year, with local authorities struggling to find homeless families more stable or affordable places for them to go.

Shelter Manchester hub manager John Ryan said: “News of the devastating rise in homeless children in the North West will bring heartache to thousands of people in the region. The sad fact is, 50 years since Shelter was founded, too many families still need our help.

A homeless family

“It’s always tragic to see parents desperate to escape the single cramped room of a B&B or hostel they find themselves struggling to raise their children in.

“Imagine having to eat all of your meals on the floor, share a bed with the rest of your family, or being too frightened to leave your room at night. These are things no parent wants their child to endure.”

Shelter says its analysis suggests more than 120,000 children across Britain will not have a permanent home during this festive season.

Interviews with people living in temporary accommodation revealed horror stories of children being exposed to drug abuse, fighting and strangers sleeping in corridors as well as examples of mould, dirty rooms and hazardous electrics.