Words by Josie Ball
The homeless charity Shelter has launched an urgent campaign within Sheffield and the surrounding area of Yorkshire and the Humber region in light of recent statistics.
Following an investigation by the Government, shocking statistics have been uncovered that claim, “554 children in Yorkshire and the Humber will wake up homeless this Christmas.” This figure has sadly, nearly doubled since 2012.
90,000 children in Britain will be homeless this Christmas. We’ll stop when it’s 0. pic.twitter.com/7rBGqBYSj9
— Shelter (@Shelter) November 10, 2014
Although, many families are homeless, they are often not seen directly by the public, as the council has a legal obligation to find them somewhere to stay such as a hostel or a B&B. Both of which are often overcrowded.
Consequently, this problem is relatively unknown to the general public in Sheffield. Sheffield Hallam students were asked if they had heard of family homelessness and, if so, did they know how large the issue was?
One Hallam student questioned said that, “I was aware of the amount of homeless people living in Sheffield, I’d never considered the fact that families and children are being put in the same position. The thought that families either alone or with nothing at Christmas is heart-breaking.” She went on to ask for the support of her fellow students, asking, “We as Hallam students can surely help in some way?”
Recently, Shelter conducted an in depth investigation based on families who had been made homeless and had been provided with temporary accommodation. However, in most cases this accommodation was unsafe and the families were subjected to, “drug and alcohol abuse,” in some cases. Often, the temporary accommodation that had been provided was far from the families’ established support network of family, friends and even the children’s schools.
Consequently, 20% of the families surveyed were faced with a three hour round trip to take their children to school and 10% said that, “their children had to miss school altogether.”
With the level of homelessness in Sheffield growing, the council has teamed up with 3 other local organisations and signed a “No Second Night Out protocol.” With a simple vision that, “no-one will live on the streets of South Yorkshire and no individual arriving on the streets for the first time will sleep out for more than one night.”
Shelter believes that everyone should have a home. Their campaign is targeted at the estimated 90,000 children in the United Kingdom who will otherwise be classed as being homeless this Christmas.
Shelter’s Chief Executive exclaimed, “No child should have to go through the trauma of losing their home… over 500 in Yorkshire and the Humber will wake up homeless this Christmas.”
For Shelter the short term aim of the campaign is to get experts to work with homeless families directly to find them a new, secure place to live. As well as to stop others becoming homeless in the first place.
Their long term plan is to get the Government to see the bigger picture and invest more heavily in affordable housing. They want it to be easier for those who need help to get it.
Shelter’s CEO added, “We urgently need more support from the public to help us make sure no one has to fight homelessness on their own this Christmas.”
You can support Shelter’s emergency Christmas appeal by visiting, www.shelter.org.uk or texting SHELTER to 70060 to donate £3.
Were you too shocked at the scale of homelessness in the region? If so tweet us @SHUlifenews