Hundreds of children in Northampton do not have a permanent home, the latest official figures have revealed.
Across England, more than 123,000 children are living in temporary accommodation, a situation described by housing charity Shelter as a “national emergency”.
In Northampton, a total of 301 households were in bed and breakfasts and other temporary accommodation at the end of June, figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show.
The figure is higher than the 162 at the end of June 2017.
At a rate of 3.1 homeless households for every 1,000 in the area, homelessness was more prevalent in Northampton than across England as a whole.
Altogether, it meant 500 children in Northampton were living without a permanent home at the end of June.
Across England, the number of households living in temporary accommodation in England has risen by 5% in a year, including 123,630 children.
Charity Shelter said the number of homeless children in temporary accommodation was 3,000 higher than last year and the highest in 11 years.
The charity’s campaign director Greg Beales said: “The fact that more than 123,000 children in England will be forced to wake up homeless this Christmas is a tragedy.
“This is now a national emergency. Every day we hear horror stories about homeless families faced with dirty, cold and even rat-infested hostels. Whole families forced to share one room and even beds, and children too scared to leave their block to use the communal bathrooms during the night.”
Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “These figures reveal the stark reality of the homelessness crisis we are facing in this country - the fact that more than 120,000 children were living in temporary accommodation in June 2018 is quite simply a national disgrace.”
The figures, covering April to June this year, are the first to be released since the new Homelessness Reduction Act come into force in April which aims to get local councils to do more to help people without a home.
In Northampton, the number of households in temporary accommodation with shared facilities – bed and breakfasts – was 28, or 9% of the total.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live.
“It is good to see our Homelessness Reduction Act making a real difference but we know we need to do more.
“That is why we are investing £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness, we are putting £9 billion into our affordable housing programme and we are also empowering councils to borrow to build more council homes to ensure that more people have a home of their own.”
The figures do not cover rough sleeping.