Up to 200,000 children in the United Kingdom could be in danger of becoming homeless this winter, a prominent charity warned on Thursday.
A study commissioned by the charity group Shelter and carried out by polling agency YouGov found that over 100,000 low-income families living in privately rented homes were either sent eviction notices or were behind on their monthly payments last month.
As many of these families face the danger of losing their homes, Shelter has estimated that 55,000 children along with their families have already been evicted from their homes since September this year.
"No child should have to worry about losing their home this Christmas, let alone 200,000. But so many families will spend every day with the threat of eviction looming over them, not knowing if they will still have a home next year,” Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said in a statement.
"Eviction notices have started dropping on doormats and our services are working round-the-clock to help families who have nowhere else to go,” Neate added.
YouGov’s survey has shown that 71% of families who pay rent will struggle to keep up with their payments and find a new home if they face the threat of eviction. About 21% of families revealed that their children knew of their struggles and anxieties in keeping their homes with 11% saying their children were actively worried about becoming homeless.
To raise funds and resources for struggling families, Shelter has now begun reaching out to the public for support in helping at-risk families to find a safe and secure home.
"Like before, the government needs to intervene to keep people safe in their homes. We urgently need more support for renters to protect them from eviction this winter.
"Thousands of families are teetering on a cliff edge. It’s only with the public’s support that we’ll be able to keep answering calls and help as many of them as possible keep the bailiffs at bay,” Neate said.