Hundreds of kids facing Christmas without a home

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AS most families in the Dispatch District are preparing to spend Christmas in their warm, cosy homes, others are facing hardship through homelessness.

According to national charity Shelter, more than 900 children across Hucknall, Bulwell and the rest of the East Midlands will wake up homeless on Christmas Day.

The campaigning charity has launched its seasonal initiative to raise awareness and appeal for funds to help tackle this increasing problem.

Many families who have lost their homes are being housed in bed and breakfast accommodation, forcing parents and children to live in one room with limited facilities and very often in ‘appalling conditions’.

“It’s easy to think of homelessness as single people sleeping rough,” said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.

“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 often just isn’t a realistic option.”

The main triggers of homelessness include relationship breakdowns, job losses, and landlords ending renters’ tenancies.

And the charity is expecting an influx of calls from families facing homelessness over the festive season because of the current financial downturn.

Shelter works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing by giving advice, information and advocacy to people in housing need.

It also campaigns for lasting political change to end the housing crisis for good.

Many people turn to the charity for help when they are desperate.

Mr Robb added: “No child should be homeless in the East Midlands this Christmas.

“Every December, Shelter’s helpline and advice centres deal with thousands of people at risk of losing their home.

“We need everyone’s support in the coming months so our advisors can help prevent families from becoming homeless, and help them into a home if the worst should happen.”

If you find yourself needing help with housing issues contact Shelter, which will offer free, confidential advice to people with all kinds of housing problems.

It can be contacted through its online housing information site, www.shelter.org.uk or their helpline on 0808 800 4444.

You can also make a donation or text HOMES to 87085 to give £3 to Shelter emergency Christmas Fund.