Shelter report: 100,000 children are homeless

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Around 100,000 children were homeless in 2001-02, causing educational, behavioural and health problems, a new report by Shelter reveals.

The number of children forced to live in temporary housing in the 12 months to July 2002 was uncovered by analysing government figures on homeless families. Researchers also studied 50 children in 21 families and found that the lack of permanent accommodation severely affected almost every aspect of their lives, from schooling to health. The resulting report, Where is Home?, paints a disturbing picture of life in hostels, B&Bs and shelters.

The study found that children in two-fifths of the families were forced to move schools when they became homeless, and over half of those were bullied for having no friends. Many missed out on school or fell behind because they had nowhere to do their homework.

Their health also suffered from insanitary conditions and overcrowding - one family of six shared a single room - and from a poor diet due to lack of cooking facilities.

Ben Jackson, Shelter's director of external affairs, said that the Government's newly announced commitment to spend more than £1.2 billion building homes needed to be aimed at the 80,000 families currently in temporary accommodation.

(Guardian, 19 September 2002)

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