Shelter: One child made homeless every eight minutes

That’s the equivalent of 183 children per day – the highest figure in 12 years.


135,000 children in Britain are homeless and living in temporary accommodation – the highest figure in 12 years, according to a report launched today (3rd December) by Shelter.

For the first time, the charity exposes the frequency with which children are becoming homeless, as its Generation Homeless report reveals a child loses their home every eight minutes.

That’s the equivalent of 183 children per day, enough to fill two and a half double-decker buses.

The report, which also highlights the 5,683 homeless families with children currently living in emergency B&Bs and hostels, also revealed:

  • In England, the areas with the highest proportion of homeless children are the London boroughs Kensington and Chelsea, Haringey, Westminster, and Newham where one in every 12 children is homeless
  • Outside the capital, the places with the highest concentration of homeless children are Luton (one in every 22 children), Brighton and Hove (one in every 30) and Manchester (one in every 47)
  • In England’s classrooms, there is an average of five homeless children for every school in the country

With a “severe lack of social homes, expensive private rents and welfare cuts driving the country’s housing emergency”, Shelter is warning that if nothing changes, 1,647 children will be made homeless between now and the 12th December general election.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “The fact 183 children become homeless every day is a scandalous figure and sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action.

“Day in, day out, we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the country.

“They are being uprooted from friends; living in cold, cramped B&Bs; and going to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers outside.

“Every child has the right to a safe home, and if we act now, we can help get them to a better place. So, every donation will mean Shelter can be there for the children and families who need us this Christmas.”

As reported by 24housing, Neate called for the building of more social housing to remedy rising levels of poverty and homelessness and the ever-increasing cost of the £21bn Housing Benefit bill.

Speaking at Homes UK 2019, she stated that social housing is the “only moral way” for the UK to deliver the homes it needs and reduce poverty and destitution.

Following the release of reports, the charity is calling on every political party to put housing at the top of its domestic agenda – and asking for the public to support its urgent Christmas appeal.

To find out more about the appeal and to donate, visit

Case study: Will, 10

Living in a single room with his mum, dad, and younger brother in an emergency B&B in Ilford, Will and his family became homeless after being served a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction.

“Life in the B&B is horrible, it’s worse than being in a real-life horror film.

“There’s no room to do anything, even if I’m reading my book, as I’m still going to get annoyed by someone.

“I’ve been told off by someone for running in the small corridor, you can’t do much, you can’t play much. I don’t get to play that often.

“Sometimes me and my little brother Harry, we fight for the one chair, because we both want to sit at the table, and sometimes he wins and sometimes I win.

“I find it really hard to do my homework as I get distracted by my little brother, and I don’t have another room to work in peace.

“We moved here in September, and they said we were going to stay for six weeks. Then they told us we were going to stay for two more, then they told us it will be another week, then another one.”

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