Homeless charity Shelter is bracing itself for a rush of calls from the North East over the festive season.
In the run up to last Christmas, the charity received three calls every hour from the region – and is warning that the situation this winter could be set to get worse.
New research from Shelter and retail giant M&S shows that in 2016 the charity’s national helpline received almost 1,800 calls from the North East in the two months leading into Christmas.
A combination of rising homelessness, high rents, problems with Universal Credit and a dearth of affordable homes means this winter the charity is preparing for huge numbers of people struggling with homelessness and housing problems to come to them for support.
Mark Cook, a helpline adviser for Shelter, said: “Every Christmas I speak to parents in despair as they face the trauma of homelessness, when they should be filling stockings and looking forward to Christmas dinner.
“No family should face the agony of losing the roof over their heads, which is why we’re calling on people to get their lunch from M&S’s Festive Collection for Shelter.”
Mike Barry, director of M&S's Plan A sustainable business policy, said: “With calls to the Shelter helpline increasing by 25 per cent over the past year it’s more important than ever we support this important cause.”
Shelter’s free, national telephone advice line is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 5pm.
For housing advice, call 0808 800 4444.