CHARITY chiefs are bracing themselves for a rise in demand for help from Wearsiders struggling to keep their homes this Christmas.
Shelter saw a 12 per cent increase in the number of North-East callers to its helpline last year, with 2,490 people asking for help.
Liz Clare, a Shelter helpline adviser for nine years, said the Christmas period is the most difficult time of year for her and colleagues.
She said: “The threat of homelessness is devastating at any time of year, but it seems to get worse around Christmas as the strains of the holidays close in and the weather gets cold.
“One Christmas Eve, I answered a call from a mum with a disabled son. They were evicted from their home that night and had to sleep on the streets in the cold.
“We managed to find them a place to stay, but I’ll never forget the devastation in her voice. The sad fact is that eviction notices can come at any time of year.”
Earlier this month, the charity launched an emergency appeal for the 140 children in the North East who will wake up homeless this Christmas.
The Shelter helpline is open 365 days a year, with a dedicated team of 50 expert advisers.
For more advice, call 0808 800 4444.