Shortage of housing blamed for child homelessness in Brighton and Hove

Work at Circus Street in Brighton
Work at Circus Street in Brighton

The council has blamed a shortage of housing for Brighton and Hove’s high rate of homeless children.

Research by housing charity Shelter said Brighton and Hove had the highest rate of child homelessness in the south east, with 1,999 young people under 18 homeless or living in temporary accommodation.

That’s a 74 per cent increase since 2013, and Brighton and Hove, one child in every 25 is considered to be homeless.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesperson said: “We have a huge shortage of housing in Brighton & Hove and the pressure on housing is higher in the city than most other areas.

“It’s an extremely sad situation and we’re doing everything we can to address this, including currently exploring all potential sites in the city to build new homes.

“The majority of our temporary accommodation is good quality self-contained houses and flats. However, there are still a number of households in short term and emergency accommodation and we are looking at how we can help families to resolve their housing situation as quickly as possible.

“We urge anyone facing the loss of accommodation to contact us as soon as possible so we have more chance of helping to find a better resolution. Get in touch with our Early Intervention Service by emailing earlyintervention@brighton-hove.gov.uk or calling 01273 294400.”

Shelter released the figures as part of its Christmas campaign, raising cash to give families helpline advice and services they need in order to keep their homes over the festive period.

The charity warned that hundreds of children in the region will spend their Christmas in a hostel or BnB, often with one family in a single room, sharing bathrooms and kitchens with other residents.

Greg Beales, director of campaigns at Shelter, said: “No child should be homeless. But for the generation growing up in the housing crisis, this is the grim reality for many.

“The number of children hidden away in hostels and BnBs is enough to make anyone’s heart sink. These are not places for children. We hear about cold, damp – even rats. Young children are sharing beds with multiple family members, trying to play in dirty public corridors, and having to leave their block in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

“Over the last five years, hundreds of thousands of children have known what it’s like to be homeless. The impact these young people cannot be overstated. It doesn’t have to be this way. If we act now, we can change tomorrow to make sure every child has somewhere they can call home.”

To support Shelter’s Christmas appeal, text SHELTER to 70020 to donate £3, or visit: www.shelter.org.uk

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