Number of homeless people drops in Sunderland as council calls for everyone to take 'collective responsibility' for the issue

The number of people who are classed as homeless in Sunderland is dropping, according to council figures, but the issue is still ‘everyone’s responsibility’.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 10:23 am

Key partners from across the city have signed up to a charter to tackle homelessness.

It comes as city council figures show the number of people classed as homeless has dropped dramatically in recent years.

The most recent figures show there were seven people who presented to the council as homeless from January to March 2019, which is down from a high of 33 the year before.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rough sleepers. Picture by Yui Mok/PA Wire

In the North East, the number of people recorded as homeless has reached 1,061, new figures from charity Shelter have revealed.

Shelter’s analysis of official rough-sleeping and temporary accommodation figures shows the number of homeless people in the region has increased by 4% since 2016.

The new Sunderland Homelessness Charter calls on everyone from residents, Sunderland City Council, healthcare providers, charities, faith groups, businesses, and grass roots groups to sign up to the principles of the charter and put them into action.

Fiona Brown, the council's executive director of neighbourhood services, said: "We believe everyone has a collective responsibility to tackle homelessness, and that only by working together can we hope to prevent it by tackling the roots causes of homelessness.

"There's an enormous amount of work underway to prevent homelessness and the causes of homelessness, but this charter is about clearly setting out what anyone who is homeless or at risk of being homeless can expect in terms of rights in the meantime. And it's something which we and our partners are whole heartedly committed to.

"It's also essential that when we're looking at how we can prevent homelessness, we recognise that it's not just a housing issue and that we work with partners locally, including social care and public health to tackle the underlying issues.”

Items the charter includes sets out that everyone who is homeless should have a right to a safe, secure home along with an appropriate level of support to create a good quality of life; safety from violence, abuse, theft and discrimination, and the full protection of the law.