Child Homelessness Appeal Launched

Around 90,000 children in Britain will wake up homeless on Christmas Day - more than 4,000 of them in Scotland, according to housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland.

The charity says that Scotland's 4,223 homeless children is enough to fill the Scottish Parliament 32 times over and equivalent to more than two homeless children for every Primary School in Scotland.

Shelter Scotland is highlighting the latest Scottish Government homelessness figures to launch its 2014 Christmas appeal to raise awareness of the plight of homeless households this festive season and the poor quality of temporary accommodation they are often forced to live in.

The charity says while there has been a 25% decrease in the number of children homeless at Christmas in Scotland since 2011, the root cause of so many children still being homeless is a chronic shortage of affordable social housing. Last December, Shelter Scotland helped more than 1,000 people with their housing problems, with many at risk of becoming homeless over the festive period.

The charity is calling on the Scottish Government to build at least 10,000 new social homes each year to start tackling the housing crisis and bring hope to the 150,500 families and individuals stuck on council waiting lists across Scotland.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, says: "It's completely unacceptable that in the 21st Century 4,223 children in Scotland will spend this Christmas homeless - that's enough to fill the Scottish Parliament 32 times over and equivalent to more than two homeless children for every Primary School in Scotland. The temporary accommodation they are forced to live in is often poor quality housing where they can spend months or even years waiting for a home of their own.

"We need to see 10,000 new social homes built each year to tackle Scotland's housing crisis.  That way, we can work towards a future where no child has to wake up on Christmas morning or any other morning in such awful circumstances."

"No child should be homeless at Christmas but each December Shelter Scotland's helpline advisors have to help hundreds of families at risk of losing their home. We need everyone's support in the coming months so our teams can help prevent more people from becoming homeless or, if the worst happens, support them to get a decent roof over their heads.

"To help us, people can visit or text SHELTER 70123 and donate £3 to support our work to prevent homelessness and give a child a warm, secure home when they need it; especially Christmas."

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