While many of us will spend Christmas day enjoying all of the festive traditions we cherish, some UK kids will be experiencing a different story. Not too long ago, a report surfaced that more UK children are homeless than during the financial crash in 2007. It is estimated that 128,000 children are without shelter and the number might be even higher. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s heart-wrenching to think that all these kids will not get to enjoy the holidays like the rest of us. Recently the Homeless Link charity dropped some statistics regarding the current crisis and let’s just say, the statistics are startling. Over 140 families become homeless every day. Yes, you read that right, 140 families lose the roof over their heads every single day. To add to that over 100,000 households in the UK are living in temporary accommodation. This is an astonishing 134% increase since 2007.
The sad part is, the Shelter reports that over a quarter of these homeless families don’t even have access to a kitchen. Almost all the homeless live in one room accommodations with more than one-third sleeping together in a single bed.
Why is this happening?
According to the Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate, this all started in 2011, when someone in government got the bright idea to cut housing benefit allowances from the bottom 50% of local rents to 30%. Other contributing factors were the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, the universal credit and the lowering of the benefits. These factors caused the UK to experience the most rapid increase in homeless families since the Great Depression.
After this revelation, a government spokesman from the Dept for Communities and Local Government promised that the government is doing all it can to curb the problem. The spokesperson said, “This government is committed to breaking the homelessness cycle once and for all, and is working with Shelter and others to do this.” He continued by reassuring citizens that Government was providing over £1billion to tackle the issues facing Homeless families. The legislation is called The Homeless Reduction Act and is set to last until 2020. He finished by saying, “Councils have a duty to provide safe, secure and suitable temporary accommodation. This means that people are getting help now and no family is without a roof over their head this Christmas.”
Meanwhile, politicians from the opposite have cited the crisis as shameful and heart-breaking. One such minister touched by the finding was Labour’s shadow housing minister, Melanie Onn. In a recent interview, she said, “It is heart-breaking that 128,000 children will wake up on Christmas morning with no place to call home. The Conservative Government is failing them. This shames us all. Ministers must back Labour’s national plan to end this homelessness crisis.”
Homelessness is a complex issue, but it is about time some concerted effort was made across all parties, community, and agencies to find long-term solutions. For one thing, the council’s ex-properties are standing empty in their thousands and could be handed over to charities. There are numerous flats and homes practically abandoned by their owners, unoccupied for years. Why isn’t the Government using its legislative power to force those homeowners to sell or help in some way with the homeless crisis? It about time Government stop dragging their feet on this issue and help these kids.
So what are your thoughts?
Do you think its fair that so many kids are becoming homeless in the 7th richest nation in the world? What do you think is the solution? Tell us in the comments.