Christmas in crisis for UK’s 131,000 homeless children
Christmas is a time for joy, family, presents, mince pies and maybe having one too many glasses of bubbly.
It’s the time of year we stress about for months on end; we save our money up to buy the best presents, so we can have the best dinner and the best day, but what is it like if you don’t have that same experience of everyone’s favourite holiday?
What if you don’t have a home or a family and Christmas is just another reminder that you are alone? We all look forward to this single day for much of the year and we dread to think how much money we spend or how many calories we consume but our worries seem trivial when we realise that a lot of people don’t have the privilege of fretting about these minor details.
For many people, Christmas is just another day and for many others it’s an even harder day to be on the streets, watching crowds bustle along laughing and joking with armfuls of shopping bags and food that will probably go to waste. Other people going about their festivities with family and friends, Christmas is so magical, it inspires people to be so generous with present-giving, so why are we often not as generous to the people who need our help most?
Over 131,000 children are now estimated to be homeless this year, this is around 50,000 more than the figures from five years ago. Many children, young people and adults will be on the streets, in hostels or riding public transport all night every night to keep warm this Christmas.
According to a recent survey by homeless charity, Crisis, around £24,000 people in Britain will be spending the festive season in this ‘hidden homeless’ state, forced to try to catch some sleep on trains, cars and even tents.
The findings suggested that the issue is more pronounced in England, with rough sleeping on the increase at 120 per cent, Scotland’s numbers have decreased by 5 per cent but in Wales, homelessness has gone up by 75 per cent this year.
It begs the question of why people make such a big deal out of Christmas, getting their cards sent off on time, picking the perfect secret Santa present and not burning the turkey, when there are individuals out there that have absolutely nothing this festive season or any other day of the year.
Although charities such as The Salvation Army launch Christmas Appeals every year, which aim to provide those in need with a hot dinner, companionship and a place to go, there is still a worldwide problem with homelessness.
So while you hurry along the street with your bags of Christmas presents and your mind on a hundred different things you need to wrap up by the big day, spare a thought for those who have nothing this Christmas and consider giving to a worthwhile charity to show your support.