At least 135,000 children will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation across Britain on Christmas day – the highest number for 12 years – according to the housing charity Shelter.
It estimates that a child loses their home every eight minutes – 183 children per day. At this rate, 1,647 children will become homeless between now and the general election on 12 December, and more than 4,000 by 25 December.
London has the highest concentration of homeless youngsters, up 33% since 2014. About 88,000 children were homeless and in temporary accommodation in the capital at the beginning of 2019 – equivalent to one in 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 & 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 B&Bs or hostels, up 11% since 2014.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “The fact 183 children become homeless every day is a scandalous figure and a sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action. 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.”