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‘Scandalous’: 135,000 children homeless at Christmas

‘Horrible’: Will, aged ten, says he ‘can’t play much’ in the B&B he lives in PICTURE: SHELTER/PA

A CHILD becomes homeless every eight minutes in the UK, a report has found.

And it is estimated at least 135,000 children will be in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day.

The Generation Homeless report, to be released by national charity Shelter today, found child homelessness is at its highest rate since 2006, with 183 youngsters losing their housing per day.

Describing the figures as ‘scandalous’ the charity found temporary facilities, such as emergency bed and breakfasts, are often sub-standard and lack privacy, security and space.

The report highlighted the case of ten-year-old Will, whose family was made homeless after a Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction and now live in a single B&B room in Ilford, east London.

‘Life in the B&B is horrible — it’s worse than being in a real-life horror film,’ Will said. ‘There’s no room to do anything, even if I’m reading my book, as I’m still going to get annoyed by someone.

‘I’ve been told off by someone for running in the small corridor. You can’t do much, you can’t play much.

‘We moved here in September and they said we were going to stay for six weeks. Then they told us we were going to stay for two more, then they told us it will be another week, then another one.’ Some 5,683 families currently live in emergency B&Bs. Shelter found the number of children in temporary accommodation has risen by 51 per cent in the last five years — now equating to one in 107.

In England, there are an additional 4,470 families not included in the figures as they sourced an emergency place to live themselves.

The charity is calling on political parties to prioritise housing policy. Chief executive Polly Neate said the ‘scandalous’ figures were a ‘reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action’.

She added: ‘Day in, day out we see the devastating impact housing emergency is having on children. They are being uprooted from friends, living in cold, cramped B&Bs and going to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers.’