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Facing Christmas without a home

Over 1,500 children in Wales will wake up this Christmas without a place to call home, says Shelter Cymru.

The charity says an unprecedented amount of children in Wales will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation. According to the latest Welsh Government statistics, 6,935 individuals were in temporary accommodation at the end of September, an increase of 118 from August. Some 1,742 of these were dependent children aged under 16, an increase of 97 from August.

The number of people living in emergency accommodation has nearly doubled in the last year and its services are seeing a huge increase in the number of children who are experiencing homelessness.

Shelter Cymru says an alarming number of children will be living in hostels, bed and breakfasts, hotels or other ‘temporary accommodation’ with insufficient space for eating, sleeping and playing. And it’s often not ‘temporary’  – the housing crisis means that people could be stuck in poor conditions  for several months or even years, with little hope for a permanent home.

The number of children whose families have come to Shelter for help because they are stuck in temporary accommodation has gone up by a third in the last year. It is estimated that this year approaching 7,000 people will spend Christmas homeless, with uncertainty regarding finding a suitable home for the future.

The charity says a perfect storm of welfare cuts and rising rents, together with a lack of social and affordable homes is creating impossible pressure for local authorities. This, coupled with the devastating effect of the Covid pandemic, paints a very bleak picture for these homeless families and other people struggling to get by in these uncertain times.

Ruth Power, CEO of Shelter Cymru, said:

‘We know first-hand the negative impact that not having a home and living in temporary accommodation has on people’s mental and physical health. And we know that homelessness affects children and young people’s education, and can have lifelong impacts. This Christmas in Wales too many families will be living in poor conditions where it’s difficult to cook a proper meal. Some will spend Christmas living in one room, where they are forced to eat, play, dry their washing and sleep.

‘We need your help to stop this from happening. Every child deserves a safe place to call home. Every donation will mean that Shelter Cymru can be there for those who need us, this Christmas and beyond.’


Natalie and her four year old daughter have been without a home since February. With low windows and exposed wires, their temporary small flat does not provide a safe and settled home for her daughter, and Natalie is fearful of her coming to harm. ‘She hates it here. She cries every time we return and the noise from outside frightens her. I just don’t want this life for her.’

Shelter Cymru is supporting Natalie to secure a permanent home in a suitable area; somewhere her daughter can play and get a good night’s sleep and where they can build a secure future together.

**Natalie’s story is based on real events. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

To donate to Shelter Cymru’s urgent Christmas appeal please visit www.sheltercymru.org.uk/donate.

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