SIXTY-FOUR children in York face waking up homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas, according to a new report.
Figures released by the homeless charity Shelter found the city currently has more children enduring the housing crisis than Leeds and Sheffield, and is the fifth worst in the region.
Some of the families are living in emergency B&Bs and hostels, but many of them are in single rooms, have no access to a kitchen and half the families had to share toilet and bathroom facilities with other households, said Shelter.
The situation has been slammed by Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, who said the figures show “everything that is wrong with this country”.
She added: “It is shocking to learn that 64 children in York will be homeless this Christmas while so many others are over indulging over the Christmas period and large amounts of food are thrown away.
“This makes me angry as it doesn’t have to be this way, but political choices push people into poverty.
“No one should be homeless in Britain, the sixth wealthiest country in the world, in the 21st Century.
“I think these figures shame the Government and the council and it is time for them to sit up and listen.
“Its policies are failing and the homeless figures are set to rise still further as the switch to universal credits kicks in.”
There are currently 30 homeless children in Leeds and 52 in Sheffield. The only areas in the region with more homeless children than York were Wakefield, Bradford, Kirklees and Hull.
Shelter figures suggest 735 children across Yorkshire and Humber face being homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas.
City of York Council said their figures showed they had 63 children in temporary accommodation in September 2016 and the same number 12 months later, but they do not place children in a bed and breakfast unless it is unavoidable.
Denis Southall, head of housing, said: “Last year, we worked to prevent 752 households from being made homeless and we work hard to find homes for those who are unavoidably made homeless.
“In spite of the pressure of welfare reform and the shortage of affordable homes, the council continues to maintain its lowest ever level of households in temporary accommodation which is currently 58 families.”
Tracey Nathan, of Shelter in Yorkshire, said: “No child should have to spend Christmas without a home - let alone more than 700 children in Yorkshire and Humber.
“Many of us will spend Christmas day enjoying the festive traditions we cherish in the safe comfort of our homes, but sadly it will be a different story for the homeless children in the region."
To support Shelter’s urgent Christmas appeal visit www.shelter.org.uk.
Also read: CIVIC TRUST PLAQUES: St Stephen's Orphanage