Almost 1,000 homeless people in the North East, research finds

Nearly 1,000 people in the North East are currently homeless.

That's according to the charity Shelter, who warn more are likely to lose their homes amid a tough winter and high living costs.

The charity's analysis of official rough-sleeping and temporary accommodation figures found more than 70 people sleep rough on any given night and 820 people are living in temporary accommodation.

Until recently, Earl Charlton of South Shields was among them.

After first becoming homeless aged just 14, he endured 25 years without permanent accommodation.

But everything changed in 2021, when he moved into his first secure tenancy in as an adult. Mid-December marks a year since he started his first every salaried job.

Shelter's new report also identifies the areas across the North East where homelessness is most acute:  

  • North Tyneside (most deprived) with 144 homeless people

  • Gateshead (second): 141

  • Middlesbrough (third): 118

"Covid protections such as the 'Everyone In' scheme, the eviction ban, and the boost to Universal Credit played a vital role in keeping people in their homes and suppressing homelessness during the pandemic," the charity argues in a statement.

"Now, Shelter is warning with these protections gone, living costs soaring and another uncertain winter ahead, there is a risk of the flood gates reopening and thousands more people losing their homes across the country."

Shelter is calling on the public to support its frontline workers who have been inundated with calls to its emergency helpline from people facing homelessness this winter.

The charity says it is hearing from people who are facing a night on the streets in freezing conditions after being turned away from emergency accommodation, as well as families in dire straits living in deeply unstable and inadequate temporary accommodation.

Shelter calls its analysis the "most comprehensive overview of recorded homelessness in the country" but believes the figures to likely "be an underestimate due to limited reporting".

Ms Guy continued: "It is shameful that nearly 1,000 people in the North East are without a home, and with Covid protections now gone many more will be joining them. A shoddy hostel room or a freezing cold doorway is no place to wake up on Christmas morning, but sadly so many people will. 

"This winter the work of our frontline staff is as critical as ever. Our advisers are doing everything they can to help people find a safe and secure home.

"By giving a little the public can help us do a lot - with their support we can keep providing support and advice to people facing homelessness this year."