Watch: Dreams and Shelter publish children’s book

Nationwide bed retailer Dreams has launched a limited-edition children’s book, in partnership with Shelter, focused on breaking the stigma of families who are homeless in temporary accommodation.

The book, titled A Place To Call Home, aims to shine a light on the realities of children living in temporary accommodation.

Published in partnership with leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter, the book is based on the true story of a real family living in temporary accommodation, where both parents have a professional background and the family became homeless through a series of unfortunate and unpredictable events.

Due to the size of their family, they couldn’t stay with friends and family, and found themselves homeless and living in temporary accommodation – never having anticipated anything like this happening to a family like them.

Temporary accommodation is not designed for permanent living, but the lack of safe, secure and affordable homes means families are often trapped there for long periods. More than two-thirds of homeless families have spent a year or more living in temporary accommodation. Many experience dangerous, slum-like conditions with more than one in three parents (35%) saying that their children do not have their own bed.

Dreams and Shelter’s partnership is rooted in their shared belief that having a safe home with a bed of your own is a fundamental human right. By publishing A Place To Call Home, Dreams is hoping to raise public awareness of the issue. Copies of the book will be available across Dreams’ 208 stores and 78 Shelter shops, with a QR code on the back of the book to learn more about the story and donate to Shelter.

An audiobook version will be available via Dreams’ website and an animation of the story will be hosted on YouTube, so both adults and children can read-along. Dreams is also spreading awareness of child homelessness through an advertising campaign on radio stations nationwide and print adverts in newspapers.

The children’s book is available for free, with no purchase necessary but any donations will help to fund Shelter’s emergency helpline, which receives almost a thousand calls a day from people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Jonathan Hirst, Dreams’ CEO, said: “As well as being an essential part of the night-time routine for many families, bedtime stories are powerful in shaping our values and understanding of the world from a very young age. The sad and unacceptable reality is that thousands of families are living without a safe and secure place to call home.

“With our new children’s book ‘A Place To Call Home’ we’re hoping to spotlight the housing emergency and bust misconceptions about homelessness. It’s all part of our long-term partnership with Shelter to help make sure that every child and family has a bed and safe place to sleep.”

Polly Neate, chief executive, Shelter said: “Thousands of children will have woken up this morning in a hostel room. This is not a home. This book, created with a family who has experienced homelessness, shows the real impact growing up in temporary accommodation has on children and shines a light on an absolutely urgent issue.

“Shelter is here for anyone facing homelessness this winter. With Dreams’ support, we are at end of the phone ready to provide free, expert advice to help families find and keep a home.”

Antaliyana, contributor to A Place To Call Home, said: “I decided to share my story with everyone in the hope that it will challenge the stereotypes often associated with people that find themselves experiencing homelessness. It is so important that we have empathy and support each other, always.”

A Dreams colleague who has experienced homelessness, said: “My family and I experienced homelessness when, despite being in full time work, we were no longer able to cover our expenses. We were eventually evicted and placed into temporary accommodation, which was a scary and uncertain time in our lives.

“We felt so much shame and embarrassment. I’m so proud to be working for a company that is helping to combat the stigma associated with homelessness, as those experiencing it should not feel ashamed to ask for help.”

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