Shelter calls for extra support after surge in young homeless - The Evesham Observer

Shelter calls for extra support after surge in young homeless

Evesham Editorial 16th Jan, 2021   0

MORE than 60 per cent of teachers in the West Midlands have worked with homeless children.

A study by Shelter and YouGov found in the last three years nearly two thirds of state school teachers have worked with children who were homeless or became homeless.

And the charity says due to the pandemic the situation could become worse for the 8,230 homeless children living in the West Midlands.

Teachers with experience of working with homeless children or those living in bad housing in the region include hunger, tiredness, absenteeism, and poor hygiene.

Nearly 90 per cent reported children missing school– this is often due to problems with transport if they are located in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or hostels.

The same amount report children coming to school hungry, tired and dirty.

One teacher said how exhausted a young pupil became as she was moved to emergency homeless accommodation in a different area.

She said: “She leaves home at 6am every morning to get to school because the local authority have no homes so she has been temporarily rehoused out of area. The family of four are living in one room at a B&B. Her attendance has dropped severely, she has become ill and she is always tired.”

After seeing a surge in demand due to the pandemic, Shelter is urging the public to support its frontline services. These include providing support and advice to families facing homelessness and helping families access a safe home.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “Without a safe and secure home, a child’s life chances can be deeply disrupted. This is not only a scandal affecting the West Midlands, it’s a problem everywhere. Without action the extra harm being done to homeless children as a result of the pandemic may never be undone. The region’s homeless children must not be the invisible victims of this crisis.

“We still don’t know what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on this generation of children. But for now, Shelter is here to support and give hope to the families who need us the most. With the public’s support we will do all we can to make sure every child has a safe and secure home – this winter and beyond.”

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