Advice helpline is stretched to its limits

North West councils receive over 31,000 pleas for help from people on the brink of homelessness

Shelter appeals for urgent support as advice helpline is stretched to its limits

In the last year, local councils in the North West have been inundated with over 31,000 requests for help from people on the brink of homelessness, new analysis from Shelter reveals.

The shocking findings, based on government statistics, show that the number of requests has risen by 96% in the last five years. In the last year, more than 3,600 households in the region ultimately lost their struggle and were made officially homeless.

Sadly, the figures come as no surprise to housing and homelessness charity Shelter, whose advisers have been inundated with calls for help.

In the last year alone, the number of calls to Shelter’s free helpline from the North West reached more than 40,300. And shockingly, one in five of the calls they were able to answer came from people who faced losing their home within a month.

The charity is calling on the public for urgent support, as its advisers brace themselves for even more calls this Christmas season. With many councils feeling the pressure of England’s affordable housing shortage, having a Shelter adviser to support families can make the difference between them losing their home and keeping it.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive said: “It’s truly devastating to hear that so many people – including families with children – are teetering on the brink of homelessness.

“It’s heart-breaking to imagine one child waking up homeless and in unstable temporary accommodation on Christmas morning, yet we know that over 100,000 children across the country are facing exactly that fate.

“Sadly, the combination of our affordable housing shortage and cuts to welfare means that more and more parents are finding themselves struggling to keep a stable roof over their children’s heads.

“That’s why we desperately need the public’s support this Christmas, to help us be there so that no family has to fight homelessness on their own.”

Case study: Francesca and her two children became homeless after her mother, who they were living with, unexpectedly became a guardian to two young family members and there was no longer room for her family. With nowhere else to go, they were forced to live in one room of a hostel for seven months. Luckily, with the help of Shelter advisers, she was able to leave the hostel and create a better future for her children.

“It was an incredibly difficult time for us. My daughter’s grades suffered because the baby would keep her up all night. It was also hard for her to keep her friendships going because she couldn’t bring any of them over to play.

“When you’re in a hostel it doesn’t feel like you’ve got a future, you can’t look ahead, you can’t see a way out.  It’s like being in a big black hole and there’s no light. Luckily I spoke to an adviser from Shelter who eventually helped us find a better place to live. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t where we’d be now – we’re so grateful to have had their support.”

To support Shelter’s emergency Christmas appeal please visit or text SHELTER to 70060 to donate £3.

Atwel James supports Shelter’s cause and campaigns tirelessly to secure better deals for tenants. Call 01204 844 448 for more.

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