Tooting MP Sadiq Khan is demanding the government face up to the problem that more than 63,000 London children will wake up homeless this Christmas.
The shocking figure was released after Shelter conducted an in-depth investigation into the emotional and physical toll suffered by children living in emergency accommodation.
Sadiq Khan spoke to SW Londoner after the charity conducted an in-depth investigation into the emotional and physical toll suffered by children living in emergency accommodation.
Mr Khan said: “It is the state’s responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in society.
“No child should be without a home, and I am sure parents across London share my outrage.”
The charity interviewed 20 family members who were living, or who had recently lived, in temporary housing.
One mum said: “My children had already been through hell before we got to the B&B, but once we moved in their mental health declined with every passing day.
“My son became depressed for the first time and my daughter even started self-harming.”
Of the 20 people interviewed, 13 felt unsafe in their accommodation, with some exposed to substance abuse, fighting and racism.
An overwhelming 16 of the people interviewed said the physical health of a child in their family suffered as a result of their housing situation, with some experiencing depression, panic attacks and bed-wetting.
Mr Khan claimed that the problem would continue unless parents were paid a living wage, rent became more affordable, and house building levels were increased.
He added: “Until we have these changes, I’m afraid we will continue to see such distressingly high numbers of child homelessness.”
Shelter also revealed that the number of people living temporarily in these bed and breakfasts has nearly doubled over the past three years, with nationwide figures reaching a 10-year high at 2130 families.
Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “In the 21st century it cannot be right that homeless children are experiencing severe emotional distress, facing three hour round trips to school and having to eat their dinner on the floor.”
Picture courtesy of janet isn’t real via Flickr, with thanks