Shelter: Homelessness risk on the up

Housing charity Shelter has revealed that the number of people calling its helpline who could become homeless in the region has increased by 70% in the last two years.

More than 5,000 callers spoke to the helpline's advisers about losing their home between October 2013 and September 2014, up by almost 4,000 compared to 2012.

The number of people in total who called the Shelter helpline in the North West from April 2013 to April 2014 rose to 17,452 from 14,816 in April 2011 to April 2012, an increase of 28% over the two years. Shelter said this was a record high.

Shelter said that analysis of government statistics revealed that nearly 81 households in the North West are at risk of losing their home every day. Figures are based on mortgage and landlord possession claims issued in county courts between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014, compared with the number of households that are rented or mortgaged in the area.

'Calls at risk of homelessness' are defined as a call from someone who has or is becoming street homeless, who needs to make a homeless application and/or who has been evicted or whose tenancy has come to an end with no alternative accommodation to go to. They may also have chronic rent or mortgage arrears resulting in the likelihood of them being evicted or repossessed.

Nadeem Khan, Shelter helpline adviser, said: "It's so heart-breaking to hear from families struggling to keep a roof over their heads, especially around this time of year.

"Hearing the panic in a parent's voice when they've just been evicted or had their home repossessed never gets any easier. Sadly, every year we get more and more of these calls over the holidays, and this Christmas will be no different.2

Marks & Spencer supports Shelter's Christmas campaign through proceeds from its Food on the Move range. To date, the retailer has raised over £7.5m for Shelter.

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