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  1. ITV Report

More than 1,600 children in Wales will be homeless at Christmas

Credit: PA Images

This Christmas 1,600 children in Wales will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation, according to new figures.

Over the last four years the number of families living in B&Bs and hostels has increased by nearly a half, housing support charity Shelter Cymru said.

The data has been collected from official Government homeless statistics and suggests over the last year in Wales, a child became homeless every two hours.

Across the UK, there is an average of five homeless children for every school in the country.

The charity also said youth homelessness is a "serious concern" in Wales, with more than 3,000 young people aged 16-24 becoming homeless in the last year.

46%
increase in number of families living in temporary accommodation over four years

Living in temporary accommodation is incredibly difficult for anyone but it is especially hard on children and young people.

Every day our services work with families who are living in horrible conditions, often single rooms, for months on end. Parents are spending hours of their day taking their children to school on public transport, and trying to cook a decent dinner with minimal facilities.

We need to make sure that all political parties ensure that the benefits system supports families and young people. We welcome that the Welsh Government has made homelessness and housing need a priority. This must be continued.

– John Puzey, Director of Shelter Cymru

In response, the Welsh Government said it was on track to build 20,000 new affordable homes in this Assembly term.

Despite dealing with ten years of austerity and the impact of the UK Government's welfare reforms, we are committed to doing everything we can to prevent and relieve homelessness in all its forms.

As part of our efforts we are increasing the number of good quality social and affordable homes available through a record investment of £1.7bn which is on target to deliver 20,000 affordable homes this Assembly term and this government is clear in its desire to see social homes built at scale and pace.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Shelter warned that across the UK, 1,647 children will be made homeless 3rd December and the date of the General Election on 12th December.

The charity is calling on political parties to prioritise housing policy in their domestic agendas in the run up to the polls opening, and in the long-term.