HUNDREDS of children across Hampshire will be homeless this Christmas, new figures have revealed.

Across the county 733 youngsters, from babies to 17-year-olds, are currently living in temporary housing.

Now data released by homeless charity Shelter suggests many of them could still be without a home on Christmas Day.

In Southampton, 292 are living in temporary accommodation. This equates to one city child in every 172 living in a temporary home, an increase of 78% in the past five years.

Elsewhere in the county, 35 children are without a permanent home in Winchester, while in Fareham the figure is 84.

Eastleigh and the New Forest have both reported no homeless minors this year.

Cllr Satvir Kaur, Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for homes and culture, said: “There’s a national housing crisis which has seen rough sleeping increase by 169% and led to more families being at risk of becoming homeless than ever before.

“The council recently launched its five-year Homelessness Prevention Strategy which prioritises supporting families and young people at risk, with new purpose-built quality container homes being used as temporary accommodation.

“However we need a change at national level to offer more security in the private rented sector and genuine affordable homes to deal with the root causes that lead to more children becoming homeless.”

Test Valley Borough Council is also tackling the issue.

A spokesman said: “We recognise that this is a particularly difficult time of year for those experiencing housing problems and we will always do all we can to support families with young children.

“Temporary accommodation is not ideal but it does ensure people have a roof over their head while we work with them to find a more settled option.

“Since April, Test Valley Borough Council has invested an additional £100,000 in its frontline housing service and as part of this we have reduced the number of households in temporary accommodation by 24 per cent.

“Furthermore, the number of children currently housed in temporary accommodation has dropped to 96. This reduction was achieved against a backdrop of a significant increase in demand.

“We actively work to prevent and reduce homelessness in the borough and sympathise with those who find themselves in such circumstances.

“The council is proud of its track record of consistently delivering the highest number of affordable homes in Hampshire”