Many people know that homelessness is a huge problem all over the United Kingdom - you only need to look around you as you walk through the centre of any major town - but few quite know the extent of it, particularly among the young.

Christmas is a difficult time for the homeless. Not only is it the coldest time of year, but it's also emotionally tough.

According to homelessness charity Centrepoint, there are 16,000 homeless young people in the UK who are set to wake up without a permanent home this Christmas.

"When home is a living nightmare, the streets can become the only refuge for many young people," Centrepoint CEO Seyi Obakin told LADbible.

"Tonight, thousands will risk their lives trying to find a place to sleep. It's simply unacceptable. No one should have to face Christmas alone in the cold."

Centrepoint has carried out the largest ever group study of homeless young people and the statistics that it uncovered are frightening.

Just over a third of young homeless people surveyed by Centrepoint have been forced to sleep rough, and almost a quarter in the last year.

Seventeen percent have spent the night in their car and 15% in a tent, while a further 12% have taken a stranger up on the offer of a room, with all the obvious risks that that entails.

These are just the obvious homeless as well. The so-called "hidden homeless" - those in insecure accommodation, those with nowhere else to go - are also at serious risk.

Over two-thirds of young people have been forced out of their homes and onto the sofas of friends or family because of a lack of security in their own homes, while around 30% have stayed at home despite the threat of violence because there was nowhere else to go but the streets.

Centrepoint is attempting to put an end to homelessness this Christmas and you can help by making a donation.

"We support more than 9,200 homeless young people a year," said Obakin. "That help can cost as little as £18. For that, you could give a young person a safe, heated place to sleep and a hot meal, as well as help to get themselves back on track.

"But we know hundreds of thousands more need help. In fact, we found out that 150,000 young people asked their local council for help with homelessness last year alone. We need to do more and need your help."

Featured Image Credit: Centrepoint

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