A charity for housing and homelessness has launched an urgent appeal after finding that 120 children in the North East face spending Christmas homeless.
This research has also revealed that the number of families living in emergency bed and breakfasts (B&B’s) has risen by 18 per cent since last year from 6,341 to 7,475.
This means a new family becoming homeless every 10 minutes.
The charity carried out in-depth interviews with 25 families currently or recently living in emergency B&B’s, hostels or sofa-surfing.
The findings of these interviews included accounts of unsafe accommodation with reports of drug abuse, fighting and strangers sleeping in corridors, as well as family’s rooms in states of disrepair.
Single father Glenn said “a couple of times the police have been called to the building because there have been people coming in and using the toilets and leaving needles in there.
“You have little toddlers in here running about, in a slight moment they might run and pick something up.”
18 of the 25 families interviewed said that their children’s mental and emotional health had been badly affected, with reports of children becoming anxious and struggling to sleep.
Tracey Guy, Shelter North East hub manager, said “news that 120 children face spending Christmas homeless in the North East will bring heartache to thousands of people across the region.
“But the sad fact is, 50 years since Shelter was founded, too many families still need our help.”
Ms Guy added “imagine losing your your home and being forced to live in temporary accommodation, often for months on end never knowing when you might have a place to call home again.
“Thankfully in the North East we don’t have any families in hostels or B&B’s, but almost daily at our Newcastle hub our advisors speak to parents desperate to find somewhere safe and affordable they can raise their family.”
To support Shelter’s urgent Christmas appeal please visit www.shelter.org.uk or to text SHELTER to 70555 to donate £3.