Thousands of children in Sussex will be homeless this Christmas

A family being helped by Shelter this Christmas (Photograph: Steve Franck/Shelter)
A family being helped by Shelter this Christmas (Photograph: Steve Franck/Shelter)

Research from housing charity Shelter reveals there are more than 11,300 homeless children in the South East, and six Sussex towns are among the hotspots.

Shelter said 11,314 children up to 17 years old were homeless and living in temporary accommodation this year – a 108 per cent increase in five years. That’s one in every 172 children.

And several Sussex local authorities make the top 20 list for the highest rates of homeless children in the region.

Topping the list was Brighton and Hove, which has 1,999 homeless children – a 74 per cent increase since 2013. In Brighton and Hove, one child in every 25 is considered to be homeless.

Related stories: Shortage of housing blamed for child homelessness in Brighton and Hove

Also making the top 20 list was Crawley with 255 homeless children, but this was down 33 per cent on 2013. The research showed in Crawley one child in every 106 was homeless.

Next up was Worthing with 132 homeless children – a 340 per cent increase on 2013, with one child in every 126 being homeless.

Lewes had 118 homeless children, up 59 per cent on 2013, and one child in every 169 is now considered homeless.

Eastbourne had 117 homeless children, but saw by far the biggest rise from 2013, increasing 800 per cent. In Eastbourne one child in every 170 is homeless.

And finally Adur also made the list with 90 homeless children, down 14 per cent on 2013. In Adur one in every 143 children is homeless.

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