A child becomes homeless every eight minutes, report finds
A report by charity Shelter warned that 183 children lose their homes every day in the UK.
National homelessness charity, Shelter, has found 183 children – enough to fill two double-decker buses – lose their homes per day.
The “Generation Homeless” report released on Tuesday is the first time the charity has been able to uncover the rate at which children are made homeless, as opposed to more general figures.
The report found child homelessness is at its highest rate since 2006 and at least 135,000 children will be living in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day.
It highlighted the impact of temporary accommodation such as emergency B&Bs and hostels, where 5,683 homeless families with children currently live.
Life in the B&B is horrible, it’s worse than being in a real-life horror filmWill, 10
The report found one in 107 children in Great Britain were homeless and being housed in temporary accommodation.
Shelter found these facilities were often sub-standard and lacked privacy and security for families, who usually had little space to cook, eat their meals or live.
London has the highest concentration of homeless youngsters, up 33% since 2014. Some 88,000 children were homeless and in temporary accommodation in the capital at the beginning of 2019 – equivalent to every 24 children.
The capital has 26 of the 30 British local authorities with the highest rates of homeless children. Four councils – Haringey, Newham, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea – had homeless rates of one in every 12 children.
Outside London, the places worst affected were Luton (one in 22 children); Brighton & Hove (one in 30); Manchester (one in 47); and Slough (one in 53). In Wales, one in 412 children are homeless, up 28% since 2015 while in Scotland one in 160 children were homeless, up 64% since 2014.
Over the past five years the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation in Britain has risen by 51%. Latest figures show 5,683 children were living in emergency temporary accommodation such as BnB’s or hostels, up 11% since 2014.
In England, there are an additional 4470 families with children who are homeless but have sourced their own temporary accommodation. These families are not included in Shelter’s figures, but are also officially without a home.
“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 Shelter chief executive Polly Neate.
“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.”
Earlier this year an analysis by the Children’s Commissioner for England estimated that on top of the 124,000 children in temporary accommodation in England at the end of 2019, a further 92,000 were sofa-surfing with friends of relatives.
The growing cost of housing homeless families has alarmed local authorities, which spent nearly £1bn in England alone on temporary accommodation in 2018-18, up 71% from the £584m spent in 2012-13.
A spokesperson for the ministry for housing, communities and local government said: “Every child should have somewhere safe to live, and councils have a duty to provide temporary accommodation to those who need it, including families with children.
“We’re supporting them to reduce the numbers in temporary accommodation by giving £1.2bn to tackle all types of homelessness.”
Shelter warned that 1,647 children will be made homeless between the start of December 3 and the General Election on December 12.