A homelessness charity has warned that thousands of British children face a “bleak Christmas” with a record number of youngsters set to spend it without a secure place to call home.
Recent figures revealed that the number of children in the UK currently living in temporary accommodation has soared to 139,000.
Now CEO Sleepout has called for those in power to “put the brakes” on the country’s rapidly worsening homeless problem.
The charity has raised a record £850,000 this year to be distributed to over 100 different causes working to help those most in need. Since launching a decade ago, CEO Sleepout has raised over £4.2m.
Yet despite unwavering public support, the charity’s CEO Bianca Robinson said the problem is only getting worse and has become a “national shame”.
“The number of children without a safe and secure roof over their heads this Christmas could easily fill the London Olympic Stadium twice over – that’s a disgrace and something we must all address,” she said.
“Nobody in this country should have to spend Christmas in this situation, and that’s especially the case with children.”
She’s now urged the public to donate the cost of a selection box to try and help as many families and vulnerable people as possible ahead of what has already been a bitterly cold winter.
“We’ve staged 16 different sleepouts this year, and the support and determination of everybody involved has been simply awe-inspiring,” added Bianca.
“Some of our 850 participants literally slept out in deadly storms to raise this money, so it is disheartening to see that despite all their efforts, rates of homelessness are reaching record highs.
“Heading into 2024, that trajectory must change. We would love a world where our charity didn’t need to exist, and that the support our most vulnerable needed was already in place.
“Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it is going to change, so these families and children will still be forced to rely on the generosity of the public to help them get through Christmas and beyond.”
CEO Sleepout is now issuing a final fundraising drive ahead of winter, which is almost the hardest time of year for those sleeping rough.
Office of National Statistics (ONS) data last year showed revealed 741 homeless people died – a figure that’s over 50 per cent higher than when CEO Sleepout launched in 2013.
To donate, please visit www.ceosleepout.co.uk/get-involved/donate/