Fall in children without a home at Christmas

The number of children homeless in York at Christmas has dropped dramatically in the last five years.

Since 2007, the figure for York has fallen by around 70 per cent, according to national housing and homelessness charity Shelter, which also predicts 900 children will wake up homeless on Christmas Day across Yorkshire & Humberside.

Five years ago the charity’s research showed 250 children were without their own homes in York during the festive season, while a survey earlier this year revealed the number in York had fallen to 77 and is predicted to drop again by Christmas.

Becky Ward, City of York Council’s homelessness service manager, said: “Taking into consideration seasonal fluctuations, year on year we are ensuring that significantly fewer people in the city are homeless.

“Planned action to prevent homelessness in the first place is being deployed by City of York Council in the city and includes mortgage-rescue schemes, working with landlords to avoid eviction, debt advice and moving people into alternative accommodation rather than allow them to become homeless, working with partner agencies such as CAB to offer debt advice and with York Housing Association to provide support to families at risk of homelessness.

“We are also working with other social-housing providers across the region on initiatives such as the sub-regional North Yorkshire Home Choice online scheme, which gives priority to households looking to downsize, in order to free larger homes and our YorHome Social Lettings Agency – a partnership with private landlords. We are also looking to provide financial and practical support for those wanting to free larger homes.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive, appealed for donations to support the charity’s work in helping families in need.

“No child should be homeless in Yorkshire and Humberside this Christmas.

“Every December, Shelter’s helpline and advice centres deal with thousands of people at risk of losing their home. It’s easy to think of homelessness as single people sleeping rough.

“What people don’t often consider is the rising numbers of families who, through no fault of their own, have lost their home and have no permanent roof over their heads.”

Shelter says the main triggers of homelessness include relationship breakdowns, job losses, and landlords ending renters’ tenancies.

Visit shelter.org.uk to make a donation or Text HOMES to 87085 to give £3 to Shelter emergency Christmas appeal.

Tell us how the cuts have affected you

Have cuts in benefits affected you or your children?

Are you stuck in a cramped flat while waiting on a council housing list for a larger home?

Are you working all hours in a low-paid job to try to support your family? Or are you a young person who has just left school or further education, and who can't see any hope of getting a decent job?

If so, we would like to hear from you. Our Stamp Out Poverty campaign aims to work with local charities and organisations to look for ways to make life a little better for those hardest hit by the recession.

But first, we want to shine a light on the struggles faced by ordinary people in York and North Yorkshire just to make ends meet.

That means talking to real people – people like you – about just how difficult your lives have become.

• If you have been struggling to make ends meet, or to find a job or a decent place to live, phone Kate Liptrot on 01904 567168 or kate.liptrot@thepress.co.uk or Stephen Lewis on 01904 567263 or stephen.lewis@thepress.co.uk

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