Homeless families’ plight in spotlight

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Homeless father appealing for help, Twitter: @HomelessFamilyR

Homeless father appealing for help, © Twitter/@HomelessFamilyR

Over 80,000 children are facing homelessness this Christmas in the UK, around 1,000 of which are based in the North West, according to the charity Shelter.

Families left living in cramped B&Bs and hostels as temporary accommodation face scenes of drug use and violence on a regular basis.

Thomas McGrath lived in a Liverpool hostel for four months with his three children after losing their home. He told JMU Journalism: “There was nothing I could have done to prevent going into the hostel, I lost my job and found it hard to cope with my kids. I’ve applied for plenty of help from the council but wasn’t paid on time and so had to move out because we couldn’t afford the rent.

“The hostel was really small, there was barely enough room for us to sleep, but it was better than nothing.”

High rent prices and a shortage of jobs have contributed to the rise in the number of homeless families and individuals.

Many organisations have been set up and are focused on helping families who are homeless, or are threatened with having no roof over their heads.

The Whitechapel Homeless Centre was created to help growing numbers of homeless people around the inner city of Liverpool. Every year they help over 2,000 people in the Liverpool region, meeting basic needs such as breakfast, shower and providing laundry facilities, as well as giving them free housing and welfare rights advice.

A spokesman for the organisation told JMU Journalism: “We have a number of different campaigns set up to aid rough sleepers and families. The ‘no second night out’ campaign encourages people who see rough sleepers to call our number and report them so we can provide them with aid.

“There is also the cold weather shelter which invites anyone left out in temperatures below zero to come in and stay warm. We are launching a Christmas appeal to help families and individuals gain housing or shelter this Christmas. We welcome donations and volunteers.”

 

About Jade Masri, JMU Journalism