124 Welwyn Hatfield children homeless this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 December 2018

124 children in Welwyn Hatfield are homeless this Christmas.    Picture: Karyn Haddon

124 children in Welwyn Hatfield are homeless this Christmas. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

This Christmas 124 children in Welwyn Hatfield are homeless - living in temporary accommodation, which even includes hostels.

Councillor Nick PaceCouncillor Nick Pace

Across Britain, the number of homeless children has increased by 59 per cent in five years, according to the housing charity Shelter.

Across the East of England, 8,437 children were recorded as homeless, at a rate of one in every 157 children.

Shelter has found that of them, 1,088 are in hostels or B&Bs, often with one family in a single room, sharing bathrooms and kitchens with other residents.

The regional rate is lower than the rate across Britain, where it is one in 103.

Shelter describes short-term accommodation such as hostels or bed and breakfast as “totally inappropriate” for children.

Greg Beales, director at Shelter, said: “The number of children hidden away in hostels and B&Bs is enough to make anyone’s heart sink.

“These are not places for children.

“The impact on these young people cannot be overstated.”

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler said: “No family should be left without a roof over their heads, especially during the winter months, and we are working to ensure all children have a safe place to stay where they can thrive.

“We are providing more than £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness, including amongst children, and introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act to ensure people at risk get help quicker.”

Welwyn Hatfield councillor Nick Pace, executive member for housing and community, said: “We urge people to seek help as soon as possible if they think they may be at risk of becoming homeless.

“We are here to help and provide support to prevent homelessness where we can.

“We can liaise with landlords on behalf of tenants, offer advice on debt and money issues, investigate benefit entitlements and explore re-housing options.

“Please contact the team on 01707 357613 or housingoptions@welhat.gov.uk for more information.

“If people notice someone sleeping rough, we encourage them to report this as soon as possible at www.streetlink.org.uk or by calling 01707 357 613 or 0800 111 4484 (outside office hours).”

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