Outline script for assembly leader
Gina and her three children live in a flat that's so damp that inspectors have twice said it's unfit for humans to live in. The mould rots carpets and mattresses and makes the children's clothes smell so badly they are teased at school. Five-year-old Tom hates the flat so much he refuses to leave school to go back home. His older brother Simon is too ashamed to ever ask a friend round to play. Despite this, the local council does not, or cannot, offer them anywhere else to rent.
They are not alone. While many people in Britain are getting rich thanks to rising house prices, homelessness is increasing. In the past seven years it has increased by 17 per cent. The victims are not sleeping on the streets, but in emergency accommodation or in one of the million homes in Britain like Gina's - homes that have been declared unfit to live in.
The charity Shelter supports the victims of homelessness, especially children who are likely to develop asthma, bronchitis or tuberculosis, because they live in damp homes. Each year it helps 100,000 people find a new home.
This year, it hopes people in England will help the homeless by giving money to Shelter on June 17, the day of the England versus Switzerland Euro 2004 match. Adults are being encouraged to give what they earn during the 90 minutes it takes to play the match. Everyone is being asked to give something in return for wearing the England colours on that day or for going to work or school in an England-coloured wig or painting their face in red and white. This will at least help the 40 families or individuals who become homeless during the time it takes to play the match.
* Information for teachers on Strip4Shelter is available on the Shelter website www.shelter.org.ukschools
For further details contact Keira Williams
Tel: 020 7505 2172
* Shelter publishes a free pack, The Little Shelter School's Book, which includes ideas for assemblies and classroom activities linked to the PSHE and citizenship curriculum, aimed at key stages 2 and 3. To order the pack or sponsorship forms, posters, collecting tins and balloons, email: firstname.lastname@example.org