Shelter warns thousands of children will spend Christmas homeless

Over 75,000 British children will spend Christmas Day homeless, a charity has warned.

Shelter Scotland has published the figures to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people over the festive period.

According to the charity, in June this year there were 10,466 households in temporary accommodation across Scotland with 157,000 families and individuals on council waiting lists.

Last December, Shelter Scotland helped more than 1,000 people at risk of becoming homeless over Christmas. The year, the charity is expecting even greater numbers of people who need help to contact them.

Data from Shelter Scotland’s helpline and advice services shows that the main causes of homelessness include relationship breakdowns and job and income losses leading to eviction or home repossession.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s easy to think of homelessness as single people sleeping rough. What people don’t often consider is the rising numbers of families who, through no fault of their own, have lost their home and have no permanent roof over their heads. For people with children, ‘sofa surfing’ with friends and family just isn’t a realistic option and the temporary accommodation they are forced to stay in is often unsuitable and of poor quality.

“Every day our helpline hears more stories of cockroaches, health problems, bad landlords and bitter cold. It’s a disgrace - and we need people’s support to do something about it.

“No child should be homeless at Christmas. Every December, Shelter Scotland’s helpline and advisors deal with thousands of people at risk of losing their home. We need everyone’s support in the coming months so our teams can help prevent families from becoming homeless, and if the worst happens, support them to get a decent roof over their heads.”