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25 Dec, 2013

Britain’s worsening homelessness crisis – The Guardian

Advisers at Shelter’s national helpline are doing everything they can to make the call-centre office feel like a cheerful environment. Tinsel with Christmas baubles has been hung from the ceiling, tiny silver Christmas trees and felt reindeer have been stuck on the tops of computer screens, cotton-wool icicles are hanging from the windows, and colleagues have brought in mince pies and chocolates to share.

You quickly understand why maintaining a good mood in the office is important if you spend time listening in to the calls that come in, at a rate of around 500 a day, from people facing imminent homelessness or already sleeping rough and seeking advice about how to find somewhere new to live.

The anxiety and emotion that pours into the headsets of crisis advice workers in this crowded fifth-floor Sheffield call centre offers a snapshot of the UK’s worsening homelessness crisis.

Read the rest: Despair on the frontline of Britain’s homelessness crisis | Society | The Guardian.