Homelessness an 'enormous issue' as over 1,500 Welsh children will be without a home this Christmas

Over 1,500 children will have no homes this Christmas. Credit: PA

This Christmas will see an unprecedented amount of children homeless and living in temporary accommodation, a Welsh charity has warned. 

According to recent figures by Shelter Cymru, the number of people living in emergency accommodation has nearly doubled in the last year. 

Services have seen a significant increase particularly in children who have no place to call home, with figures showing over 1,500 will be homeless this Christmas. 

Shelter Cymru say 7,000 people will be homeless in Wales this Christmas Credit: PA

According to Ruth Power, Shelter Cymru’s CEO, ‘temporary accommodation’ can mean a number of things, ranging from hotels to hostels to B&B’s. 

She said: “The name is interesting in a sense, it’s called temporary but sometimes it can go on for months or even years.”

In the last year, the number of families that have come to the charity for support because they are stuck in temporary accommodation has increased by a third. 

The charity says that approximately 7,000 people will be homeless in Wales this Christmas. 

One woman and her four-year-old daughter have been homeless since February. 

Living in temporary accommodation, the low windows and exposed wires does not provide a safe space for the mother and daughter. 

According to the mother, her baby is not settled.

“She hates it here”, she said. 

“She cries every time we return and the noise from outside frightens her. I just don’t want this life for her.”

Shelter Cymru is supporting the woman to secure a safer, permanent home but says such conditions at temporary accommodation are very common.

Ms Power added: “We’ve had people in accommodation with exposed wires, with damp, with mould and in accommodations which you’d ultimately share with strangers, losing the privacy of family life. 

“I suppose they’re losing out on what most of us would recognise as being a home, a place of safety, a place of sanctuary, a place of privacy.”

With Christmas often referred to as the season of joy, the charity are reminding people that it can be particularly difficult for those without a home, especially children. 

Having no place to call home can be worrying for children, says charity, especially over Christmas. Credit: PA

“Imagine at Christmas not having the facilities to cook a meal, imagine having to spend Christmas in cramped conditions, forced to eat, play, sleep in one room. Some families facing homelessness won’t even know where they’ll be on Christmas day yet. 

Shelter Cymru added: “Children will worry about where they live, worrying about how Santa will find them, worrying what they’ll say when they get back to school and they hear how other children have enjoyed Christmas in good and comfortable homes.” 

Calling on the Government to take “urgent action”, the charity said: “It’s an enormous issue... There’s a lack of social housing and social housing provides stable homes at a rent that people can afford. We need decisive action to tackle the housing emergency in both the short and long term."

A fortnight ago, the Welsh Government announced that property owners in Wales would be offered money to rent to homeless people.

This comes as they unveiled the Ending Homelessness Action Plan.

In August, the Welsh Government also unveiled plans to address the rising demand for housing by pledging to build 20,000 low-carbon affordable homes in a bid to end the housing crisis.