900 children in
North West to face Christmas homeless
SHELTER launches urgent
appeal after investigation uncovers the shocking realities faced by
homeless families. A Shelter investigation has revealed the
harrowing effects of homelessness on children, as the charity
launches an urgent Christmas appeal to help those without a place to
902 children in the North West will wake up homeless this Christmas,
government figures show. Nationally the figures show that the number
of homeless families living in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation
in England has almost doubled in just 3 years.
After receiving regular reports of the devastating impact of life
for families in B&Bs and hostels, Shelter conducted an in-depth
investigation with 20 families in England currently or recently
living in temporary accommodation, which uncovered the shocking
realities they face.
13 families said they felt unsafe in their accommodation, with some
of the worst accounts including exposure to drug and alcohol abuse,
fighting, swearing and racist language. The majority of families had
to live in one room, share kitchen and bathroom facilities with
strangers, and eat meals in their room on the bed or floor.
The investigation also uncovered the emotional turmoil of living in
these circumstances. Over half of the families said their children's
mental or emotional health had been affected, including reports of
depression, panic attacks and wetting the bed.
With the number of homeless families on the rise, Shelter is bracing
itself for a surge in demand for its already over-stretched advice
services. The charity is calling on the public to help make sure it
can be there for Britain's homeless children this Christmas by
donating to its urgent appeal.
Shelter's investigation highlighted the devastating impact of being
homeless on every aspect of families' lives, and found that:-
16 families reported that their children's physical health had
suffered since living in temporary accommodation.
► All 20 families said it had a
negative effect on relationships with family and friends.
► 12 families reported their
children had found it harder to make or keep friends.
► 4 families said their children had
over an 1 ½ hour journey each way to school, with 2 families saying
their children had to miss school altogether.
An example of this type of problem
is of that face by Felicia and her 2 children, who were evicted from
their home after Felicia's marriage broke down and she discovered
her husband had secretly got the family into debt. They became
homeless and, with nowhere else to turn, had no choice but to live
in a B&B for over 2 months.
Felicia said:- "My children had already been through hell
before we got to the B&B, but once we moved in their mental health
declined with every passing day. My son became depressed for the
first time in his life and wouldn't get out of bed, and my daughter
even started self harming. As a mother it was heart breaking to see,
but I felt so helpless because living in the B&B was our only
Not only did we all have to share one room, it was impossible for
either of them to go to school because we were placed so far away
from where we used to live. If I hadn't found Shelter I don't know
what we would have done, but thankfully they were able to help find
us a more stable place to live."
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:- "No child
should have to go through the trauma of losing their home, so it's
heart-breaking to think that 900 in the North West will wake up
homeless this Christmas.
In the 21st century it cannot be right that homeless children are
experiencing severe emotional distress, facing three hour round
trips to school and having to eat their dinner on the floor.
These days it only takes one thing to push a family into a downward
spiral which can end in homelessness, and we're bracing ourselves
for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our
help to keep a roof over their heads. Our advisers will be working
tirelessly to support people who find themselves homeless this
Christmas, but it's getting harder and harder for us to be there for
every family that needs us.
We urgently need more support from the public to help us make sure
no one has to fight homelessness on their own this Christmas."
To support Shelter's emergency Christmas appeal please visit:-
shelter.org.uk or text:-
'SHELTER' to:- 70060 to donate:- £3.
plans to be considered
LIVERPOOL City Council is
set to approve plans which will see most of its day centres remain
open, following a major review and consultation.
The aim is to ensure the City Council can continue to support the
most vulnerable in the face of £156 million of Central Government
funding cuts over the next 3 years, while at the same time
delivering £3 million of savings per year.
The plans were developed following informal consultation with
service users, staff and carers since March and are designed to
preserve the Council's skills and expertise in looking after some of
the most vulnerable clients, and make better use of some of the
In mental health, the City will continue to have 2 'hubs',
with more of an emphasis placed on recovery and re-enablement as
well as offering longer term support.
The Council will continue to run the following centres, which
provide specialist services for the most vulnerable:-
► The Lime (physical and learning disability and sensory impairment)
► Middleton (older people/day services)
► Crown Street (mental health)
► Amethyst House (mental health crisis support)
► Aigburth (alcohol service for homeless people)
The Council will also run the following centres, which mainly deal
with older people, offering 24 hour re-enablement care as well as
some day services:
► Sedgemoor (dementia and day care)
► Granby (reablement only)
► Venmore (stroke and day care)
The following centres will remain open but are transferred to
► Lancaster (learning disabilities)
► Alderwood (learning disabilities)
► Parthenon House (mental health)
► Geneva Road (homeless)
► Supported accommodation (learning disability and mental health)
Norris Green Older Persons day service will be relocated to Venmore
and Speke Day Centre will close, with service users offered care
support at another centre.
In addition, the Council is looking to develop better quality
accommodation to replace Besford House in Belle Vale, which is used
for respite and long term care for people with learning
disabilities. Service users and carers would be involved in
designing the new facility. It is being proposed that Besford House
would then become a specialist residential service for those with
complex needs such as autism or acquired brain injuries, to reduce
the need to send people out of the City for care.
One change that has been made following consultation is that Geneva
Road homelessness hostel will continue as a women only building, and
not be open to men as originally proposed. It follows concerns that
women fleeing domestic violence would be put off living at the
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for adult social care,
Roz Gladden, said:- "The consultation has found that our
proposals are broadly in line with the expectations that service
users, families and carers have for our services.
In an ideal world, we would love to continue running all of our
centres, but the huge cuts we have imposed on us by the Government
mean that we have to find new ways of continuing to support people
who receive care.
We absolutely understand that any proposed change is always
difficult, and we will work with those affected to make sure that
they are fully supported through any transition to new
We are committed to assessing everybody's individual circumstances
and providing services that meet their needs."
The full report will be considered by the Cabinet on Friday, 7 November