At this time every year we hear of the heart-rending plight of the thousands of adults and children who are homeless at Christmas.
Unfortunately it's no different in this year of coalition cuts and austerity.
According to charity Shelter 75,000 children will wake up homeless this Christmas Day. Its latest figures show there will be more than two homeless children for every primary school in Britain - enough in fact to fill 333 schools all told.
The charity says that the number of homeless families in the country has been "rising steadily over recent months," while the number of familes with children forced to live in bed-and-breakfast accommodation has increased by a staggering 57 per cent over the past year.
The Department for Communities and Local Government blusters that Britain "has one of the strongest homelessness safety nets in the world and the bigger picture is that homelessness is actually lower than for 28 of the last 30 years," but it's still clearly a major problem. Why?
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb says the main triggers include relationship breakdowns, job losses and landlords ending renters' tenancies.
"It's easy to think of homelessness as single people sleeping rough," he says. "What people don't often consider is the rising number of families who, through no fault of their own, have lost their home and have no permanent roof over their heads.
"For people with children, 'sofa-surfing' with friends and family often just isn't a realistic option."
The GMB trade union's general secretary Paul Kenny said this week he wants a more radical approach to end homelessness, calling for councils to make compulsory purchases of under-used holiday homes in areas with an acute shortage of properties.
Recent research showed that over 170,000 people own a holiday home in Britain, with the highest numbers in south-west England and in Wales.
The union says local authorities should be given powers to levy taxes on under-used second properties and to buy them outright.
Over 40,000 people have a holiday home in south-west England, of whom 32,000 don't live in the region. Almost 30,000 own holiday homes in Wales - 7,700 in Gwynedd alone - while more than 10,000 people from outside Cornwall own holiday homes there. Another hotspot is north Norfolk, with nearly 5,000 second properties.
Mr Kenny says: "In many areas urgent action is needed to ascertain if properties used as holiday homes are actually in use at all.
"A holiday home that is only used for a few weeks a year is very different to one occupied for most of the year in terms of its economic benefit to any locality.
"At a time when there are families in bed-and-breakfast accommodation it raises fundamental questions on the role and powers of a local authority over use of residential property in an area."
He's called for the powers to be written into the coalition's Localism Act.
The government insists it's doing something about the problem. A spokesman says it has recently introduced a cross-departmental strategy that will ensure anyone at risk of homelessness gets help "at the earliest possible stage" to prevent them from losing their home.
It also says it's investing £400 million in homelessness prevention over the next four years.
But in the meantime there are still the 75,000 kids who won't have a roof over their heads this Christmas.
Mr Robb urges us to donate to Shelter's emergency Christmas appeal.
"No child should be homeless at Christmas. Every December, Shelter's helpline and advice centres deal with thousands of people at risk of losing their homes."
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