OVER A HUNDRED children in Rugby will wake up homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas, a new report by Shelter has revealed.
Just under 5,000 families are in emergency B&B and hostel rooms across the West Midlands – including 105 in Rugby – according to the homelessness charity.
The chair of the town’s homeless shelter charity Hope 4 Rugby said the figures came as no surprise.
Revd Dr Michael Bochenski said: “Conversations with our guests at our centre and the Rugby Foodbank confirm that many of them are facing unbearable pressures to make ends meet or to find safe, affordable accommodation for their families.
“The UK’s true homelessness figures have been massaged by politicians across the spectrum at all levels for far too many years. It is time we all face up to what is actually happening.
“In Rugby the need for more affordable social housing and for more all-year-round emergency accommodation becomes more urgent as each new month goes by.”
Shelter researchers spoke to people such as Nathan, 28, who has been homeless for three months, and until recently was living with his 16-month old son in a Travelodge on the side of a motorway, where he only had access to a kettle.
He said: “There’s milk and stuff, but there’s no microwave. It’s pretty hard to make food. I’ve got to get the jars and stick it in the kettle, and then put the kettle on to warm it up, so that’s the best way to feed him.”
In Shelter’s investigation, every family lived in a single room which disrupts children’s ability to play, do homework and carry out any kind of daily routine.
A quarter of the families had no access to a kitchen, and the rest had to make do with shared facilities.
More than half of parents said they relied on expensive and unhealthy takeaways. And two-thirds had to eat family meals on the bed or floor of their room.
Half of the families had to share toilet and bathroom facilities, often with filthy conditions and unlockable doors. And more than a third of parents had to share a bed with their children.
Shelter Birmingham Hub manager Vicky Hines said: “It’s a national scandal that the number of homeless children in Britain has risen every year for the last decade.
“No child should have to spend Christmas without a home.
“Imagine living in a noisy strange place full of people you don’t know, and waking up exhausted from having no choice but to share a bed with your siblings or parents.
“That’s why we’re asking people to help a homeless family and make giving to Shelter their new Christmas tradition.”
With at least 16 families becoming homeless every day in the West Midlands, the charity is calling on the public to support its urgent Christmas appeal.
Visit www.shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70080 to donate £3.