Report reveals number of homeless children
PUBLISHED: 17:24 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:20 06 December 2019
People in Great Yarmouth say child homelessness is neglected - as a report shows the town has the highest proportion of homeless children in Norfolk.
Figures from homeless charity Shelter reveal one in 190 children are homeless and living in temporary accommodation in Great Yarmouth.
The problem is also significant in Waveney, the report shows, where one in every 584 children are homeless. Fifteen children become homeless every day across the east of England.
But people living in Great Yarmouth, including 37-year-old Marie, who sofa-surfed in order to survive, say the problem has not been addressed.
She said: "It is disgusting and something needs to be done about it. Great Yarmouth needs to pay a whole lot more attention to it."
Susan Cole, 63, agreed, and said the extra money spent on the Christmas lights in the town this year should have been donated to homeless charities.
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Her sentiment was echoed by Samantha Howard, who said empty shops should be used as shelters.
The 41-year-old said: "Child homelessness is not given a public profile here - but there seems to be more homeless people than ever before. Things are scary and something has to change."
For county councillor Mick Castle, who covers Yarmouth North and Central, that change is more public housing.
He said: "There is sub-standard housing and the government needs to commit to building new houses. Relying on the private sector is never going to be good enough."
A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council described the reasons for homelessness as "various and complex".
He added: "Unfortunately it is not always possible to prevent a family from becoming homeless, and where this is the case, the council provides temporary accommodation for the family until a suitable home can be found for the family which could be within affordable housing or the private rented sector.
"The council works actively with families to help them find a new home to reduce as far as possible the amount of time that children stay in temporary accommodation."
In Norwich, one in 2,790 children are living homeless or in temporary accommodation.