How Shelter is Tackling Child Poverty
Although the government claims there has been considerable progress made in ending child poverty in the UK, many charities such as Shelter, have described the current plight as a moral disgrace.
Shelter are trying to ease the crisis by providing vital advice through their FREE housing helpline, offering a national network of Housing Aid Centres and specific locally tailored projects.
Donating just a few pounds a month can make huge differences to the lives of families who are facing homelessness or enduring bad housing. The following facts are surprising and worrying but you can help.
The need for Shelter's services is huge:
- One in seven children in Britain lives in overcrowded, dilapidated or temporary accommodation.
- Children living in bad housing are almost twice as likely to suffer from poor health.
- They are also more likely to miss school, be unhappy and run away from home.
- When these children grow up, they are more likely to develop long term illnesses, to be out of work or on low pay, and to suffer from depression.
- 1.9 million households in Britain are on the waiting list for a council home. Nearly 75,000 homeless households in England are stuck in temporary accommodation
Shelter also put your money to good use by campaigning for fairer legislation and better housing policies in order to address the root causes of homelessness and bad housing. It is voluntary donations from people like you that enable Shelter to continue their services, and regular monthly direct debits from members of the public provide the backbone of Shelter's funding.
Homelessness in Britain
The issue of homelessness in Britain focusing on homeless people with vulnerable children first captured the public's attention with the release of a 1966 TV programme called 'Cathy Come Home' that showed the plight of a homeless family with children. The furore that erupted after the TV programme resulted in the formation of the homelessness charity Shelter and added impetus to a broader homeless campaign to give homeless people more rights. However, it was not until 1977 that housing authorities were given a duty to help homeless people. A concept of "in priority need" homeless categorisation was also introduced. This included homeless families with children, single people made homeless through an emergency and vulnerable homeless groups were given 'in priority need' by councils' housing departments.
That 1977 law remained largely intact for 20 years until a change in 1997 meant councils only had a duty to accommodate homeless people for two years. Several homeless groups previously classed as "in priority need" were also removed. The next significant change affecting homelessness in Britain didn't occur until the 2002 Homelessness Act by which councils must secure long term accommodation for homeless households. With over 100,000 people homeless or living in bad housing conditions (enough to fill the cities of Edinburgh, Bath and Manchester) there is clearly still an urgent need to give shelter.
But you too can make a difference to those homeless, badly housed or deprived families who need help. Regular gifts or one-off donations mean Shelter Charity can plan longer-term work. By joining Shelter's campaign, you can register your protest, take direct action, and help to build a brighter future for one million children and rescue families from the miserable cycle of homelessness and temporary accommodation.