A charity investigation has revealed the harrowing effects of homelessness on children as the launch an urgent Christmas appeal to help those without a place to call home.
A study by Shelter found 554 children in Yorkshire and the Humber will wake up homeless this Christmas, government figures show.
Nationally the figures show that the number of homeless families living in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation in England has almost doubled in just three years.
After receiving regular reports of the devastating impact of life for families in B&Bs and hostels, Shelter conducted an in-depth investigation with 20 families in England currently or recently living in temporary accommodation, which uncovered the shocking realities they face.
With the number of homeless families on the rise, Shelter is bracing itself for a surge in demand for its already over-stretched advice services.
Shelter’s investigation highlighted the devastating impact of being homeless on every aspect of families’ lives, and found that:
16 families reported that their children’s physical health had suffered since living in temporary accommodation.
All 20 families said it had a negative effect on relationships with family and friends.
12 families reported their children had found it harder to make or keep friends.
Four families said their children had over an one and half hour journey each way to school, with two families saying their children had to miss school altogether.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “No child should have to go through the trauma of losing their home, so it’s heart-breaking to think that over 500 in Yorkshire and the Humber will wake up homeless this Christmas.
“In the 21st century it cannot be right that homeless children are experiencing severe emotional distress, facing three hour round trips to school and having to eat their dinner on the floor.
“These days it only takes one thing to push a family into a downward spiral which can end in homelessness, and we’re bracing ourselves for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our help to keep a roof over their heads. Our advisers will be working tirelessly to support people who find themselves homeless this Christmas but it’s getting harder and harder for us to be there for every family that needs us.
“We urgently need more support from the public to help us make sure no-one has to fight homelessness on their own this Christmas.”
To support Shelter’s emergency Christmas appeal please visit shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70060 to donate £3