OVER 1,060 people in the North East are facing Christmas without a home and up to 12,500 are days away from the streets as the crisis across the country spirals warn homelessness charity Shelter.
They say people desperate to find or keep a roof over their heads are ringing their emergency helpline every 44 seconds. The new figures which also calculate 2,500 people are homeless in neighbouring Yorkshire and Humberside with 21,600 threatened with homelessness have been revealed as the charity launches it's Christmas appeal and calls on the government to do more.
The figures are four per cent higher than in 2016. Tracy Guy, Shelter North East manager, said: "Homelessness blights lives and leaves a lasting imprint of trauma, and yet more than 1,000 people in the North East are without a home this Christmas. And many are only days away from joining them.
"As well as those facing serious ill-health or even death sleeping rough on our streets this winter, there are too many families trapped in temporary accommodation which is cramped or in terrible condition. This is the grim truth our new government must confront and do something radical to change."
The North East is the region with the lowest number of homeless in England, across the country 280,517 are homeless with 4,677 sleeping rough, London has 170,068 homeless.
The figures are based on people living in council arranged or self arranged temporary or emergency accommodation with the numbers of rough sleepers from counts made in autumn 2018. The worst affected areas in the North East are Middlesbrough with 316 homeless and 11 rough sleepers and Durham with 293 homeless and 12 rough sleepers. Figures for Darlington has 38 homeless with three rough sleepers. However a report released by Darlington Borough Council last week said they found no rough sleepers in the town during two night counts carried out recently, but they added: "We are not complacent and we know there are some people who are ‘sofa surfing’ and our message to them is to get in touch as help and support is available."
Scarborough was one of the worst affected areas in Yorkshire with 121 homeless and eight rough sleepers. Shelter say it’s widely known that a lot of homelessness goes undocumented, including sofa surfing and some rough sleeping which means the true level will be even higher.
Ms Guy added: "Until the government acts to stem this crisis, our frontline work remains critical. With the public’s support we will do everything we can to help people find a safe and stable place to live, no matter how long it takes." To donate visit www.shelter.org.uk