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Shelter predicts surge in homelessness this Christmas
Last Christmas a mother was dreading spending the holiday on the streets, after she was thrown out by her landlord.
However, thanks to the work of a housing charity, she is looking forward to spending Christmas in her own home.
The mother of three, who lives in Borehamwood but did not wish to give her name, was heavily pregnant when she was evicted following a dispute with her landlord.
She was forced to seek shelter in a bed and breakfast, sharing a bed with her two small children.
Homeless charity Shelter helped the mother by offering her legal support.
This summer, the family were able to move out of the emergency accommodation and are now looking forward to Christmas in their own home.
The woman said she was very grateful to Shelter for helping her when she was at her most desperate.
She said: “I had a home and it was taken from under my feet. I lost everything – it was scary how easily it could happen.
“We’ve come out the other side and we’re looking to the future and focusing on enjoying life.”
“There is a huge difference between this Christmas and last. Having Shelter there to support me was a huge help. They were there whenever I needed them at a very bad time for me, and always did everything they could to help me.”
Shelter predicts an increase in the number of people this Christmas who find themselves without a home as people struggle with the rising costs of living and stagnating wages.
The number of people from Hertfordshire and the east of England who called the Shelter helpline from 2012 to 2013 reached 14,403 – a 17 per cent rise year-on-year.
Last December, 1,083 people called the helpline compared to 829 the year before.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “While most of us will rightly be enjoying the festivities at home with our family and friends, Shelter helpline staff will be taking calls from people on the brink of homelessness.
“But with the number of calls for help they receive rising quickly, they need more support to keep going.”
Marks and Spencers, which has a store in The Boulevard shopping centre is helping those in need by donating money from each sandwich or cake sold from its Christmas food on the move range to the charity’s helpline.
Mr Robb added: “No child should be homeless this Christmas. Support from partners like Marks & Spencer is incredibly important to ensure we can continue helping families when they need us most.”
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