A Spalding mum is planning a special Christmas for the friend she has taken in because she knows what it is like to be homeless.
Tracey Baxter will be sharing the festivities at her home in Chestnut Avenue with her best friend since school, Anne Studer.
Anne (45) said: “I’ve been homeless since the person I was sharing with went abroad and am still on the housing waiting list.
“I don’t know what would have happened to me without Tracey. I’ve been depressed and in hospital and Tracey’s been my rock – she’s like a sister.
“Now we are looking forward to Christmas together.”
Memories are still raw for Tracey who took emergency bed and breakfast accommodation in 2004 with her five-year-old daughter after splitting with her husband.
She said: “My daughter was really scared. There was another family at the B&B and she couldn’t understand who they were.
“Before the council found me the B&B, I went to my sister but you can only expect family to help for so long.
“I was really lucky because the chap at the B&B didn’t turn us out at 10am like some do.
“But we were there for six months in a single room living on ready meals because I didn’t have access to a cooker.
“I never expected to be homeless at Christmas once I got married. It was a very depressing time.”
Their story comes as the charity Shelter reveals more than 750 children in the East Midlands will face Christmas homeless this year,
With the number of homeless standing at a ten-year high, the charity warns that this Christmas morning they face waking up without a home of their own, with many living in cramped and difficult conditions in emergency hostels or B&Bs.
In South Holland there is currently one family in temporary accommodation, awaiting permanent housing, that the council owes a duty to under homeless legislation.
However, between April and September, 424 households have been spared the prospect of losing a roof over their heads as the result of work by South Holland District Council.
Its housing advice team and council-funded partners such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau have been at the forefront of dealing with a range of issues that could lead to homelessness.
Coun Christine Lawton, the district council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “Prevention of homelessness is a strategic priority for the authority.
“These figures are testament to the effectiveness of key council-supported services in the district.”
Anyone experiencing housing-related issues can get free advice from the district council’s housing advice team by calling 01775 761161.