Heartbreaking rise of homeless families in Birmingham and the West Midlands this Christmas

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The number of homeless people has risen by an alarming 18% across the West Midlands - with most families affected in Birmingham

Upsetting new data shows as many as 12,590 children will be without a home this Christmas as the housing crisis continues to grip the region. 

Across the West Midlands, hundreds continue to sleep rough on the streets while more than 24,000 people are living in temporary accommodation – most of whom are families.

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Polly Neate, chief executive of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, said: “Homelessness is on nobody’s Christmas list, but 24,000 people in the West Midlands will spend this time of year in a tiny hostel room or freezing in a doorway. The housing emergency is out of control.

“Chronic underinvestment in social homes has left people unable to afford skyrocketing private rents and plunged record numbers into homelessness. It is appalling that the government has allowed thousands of families to be packed into damp and dirty B&Bs and hostel rooms, which are traumatising children and making people desperately ill. Until the government takes this emergency seriously, our frontline services will do everything they can to help people keep or find a safe home this winter.”

Rise in homeless families in BirminghamRise in homeless families in Birmingham
Rise in homeless families in Birmingham

Alarming 18% rise of people without a home in the West Midlands - with Birmingham families hit hardest

Latest research shows a stark 18 per cent increase in those without a home compared to last year, with Birmingham having the highest number of people without a home to call their own (16,200). In Solihull, 559 people are understood to be homeless.

Councils, meanwhile, have a legal duty to house families and people who are vulnerable, but the acute shortage of affordable homes means they are having to rely on temporary accommodation for long periods.

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The growing emergency is leaving families stuck for months in grotty hostels, B&Bs and cramped bedsits, often having to share beds with no, or inadequate, cooking and laundry facilities. People not entitled to accommodation may end up on the streets, sofa-surfing or in dangerous living conditions.

Shelter’s frontline services are dealing with the grim reality of rising homelessness every day from supporting families crammed into a one-room B&B with mouldy walls and bed bugs, to providing emergency assistance to people faced with a night on the streets. The charity has launched an urgent appeal calling on the public to help it be there for people experiencing homelessness this winter. To donate visit: Shelter’s Urgent Appeal

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