THE number of homeless children in Coventry has increased by about eight times in five years.
New analysis shows there are nearly 600 children set to spend Christmas in temporary accommodation in the city.
This number has risen from only 78 in the first part of 2013, according to figures from national homelessness charity, Shelter.
As we reported, the number of families (including pregnant couples) becoming homeless in the city has more than tripled in the last three years, latest council figures show.
There were 150 registered homeless families in 2014/15, a figure which has now risen to 484.
There are nearly 150 homeless families in the city with more than three children, 41 with more than four and 31 with more than five.
A set of figures on the issue was published by Labour MP Liam Byrne as part of his ‘Winter of Compassion’ fundraising campaign.
The Birmingham Hodge Hill MP said: “Unacceptable numbers of children will wake up on Christmas morning crammed into B&Bs and hostels because of this government’s failing policies of austerity.
“While they may have a roof over their heads, these children do not have a home.
“Our campaign is showing the cruel impact of Tory policy across our region and how we can take care of each other when, quite frankly, the government won’t.”
The Conservative government has introduced measures aimed at reducing homelessness, and councils have an obligation to provide appropriate accommodation.
The government hopes it will eliminate rough sleeping by 2027.
Salvation Army figures show the number of registered homeless individuals has almost doubled in the city, rising from 581 to 1,059.
Homelessness charity Coventry Cyrenians’ chief executive Mike Fowler, in speaking with this newspaper, has warned homelessness in Coventry is only going to get worse despite efforts to eliminate it – such as the West Midlands mayor Andy Street’s Finland-style Housing First scheme.
The Housing First scheme focuses on setting aside houses to be used by homeless people, providing them with safety and support to address issues which made them homeless in the first place.
Mr Fowler said the government wasn’t doing enough to tackle housing supply or welfare and psychological issues often associated with homelessness.