The housing and homelessness charity

Shelter Scotland / England

4000 children like Tom will be homeless this Christmas.

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Tom and his mum

Tom’s Story

Tom and his mum Andrea spent last Christmas in temporary accommodation sharing a bed. They had nowhere to cook, so Christmas dinner was a cheap takeaway they ate sat on the floor.
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Tom's Story

Tom and his mum

As a Shelter Scotland supporter, you’ll know that most people have some preconceptions as to what a homeless person looks like. They probably picture someone very different to Tom, the seven-year-old boy in the photo.

Last year, Tom was homeless. He spent Christmas in temporary accommodation, sharing a bed with his mum Andrea. They couldn’t even make a proper Christmas dinner. Instead, they ate a cheap takeaway meal sat on the floor. Living together in a tiny room, miles from friends and family, Andrea tried her best to give Tom the Christmas he deserved – but sadly, she knew it was one he would most likely try to forget.

Still, a miserable Christmas was just the start of her worries. Tom’s school was now nearly two hours away by bus, a long and tiring journey for even the hardiest commuter – let alone a little boy. At night, some of the other residents would shout abusive language in the hall outside their room, keeping them awake and on edge. Poor Tom was frightened, exhausted and upset – and Andrea was seriously worried about his health.

This year, 4000 children in Scotland like Tom are going to wake up homeless on Christmas morning waiting for a permanent home. With hundreds of thousands waiting for homes across Scotland, we know we need at least 10,000 homes to be built each year to help meet these needs. Homelessness takes a serious toll on children – on their education, their relationships – not to mention their physical and mental health.

Thanks to people like you, last year we were able to answer Andrea’s call. Shelter Helpline adviser Marie was able to provide expert advice and put Andrea in touch with a solicitor to help with the restrictive legal issues she was struggling with. With our support, Andrea was able to find a flat closer to Tom’s school. Now that they’re back living near their friends and family, they are both much happier – and looking forward to a Christmas spent in their own home.

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