12:10am Friday 14th December 2012
By Joanna Morris
ONE in every 120 households in the North-East is at risk of becoming homeless, according to new figures released.
Leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter today (Friday December 13) revealed that 9,665 households in the region were threatened with a possession claim - the first stage of the repossession process - between September 2011 and September 2012.
Figures show that over the past decade, the possession rate per number of homes has rocketed nationally.
A possession claim is the first step in the process of house repossession and statistics show a grim picture for many areas in the region.
Potential eviction hotspots include Hartlepool, which has a possession rate of one in 115 homes, Middlesbrough with one in 116 homes threatened, Darlington where one in 128 houses could be repossessed and County Durham, where one in 129 homes are subject to possession claims.
Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “It’s truly shocking how many people in the North East are living with the threat of becoming homeless. In some areas, the risk of being evicted or repossessed is so high that one home in every street could be affected.
“This report is a stark reminder that homelessness can happen to anyone – all it takes is one event such as a redundancy or relationship break up, and whole families are at risk of losing their home.”
The latest figures come as the region’s 12 local authorities pledged to tackle homelessness and end rough sleeping by taking part in the No Second Night Out national initiative.
The project aims to make sure nobody has to spend more than one night on the streets by identifying rough sleepers and encouraging the public to report them.
It also focuses on assessing the needs of the homeless quickly and safely, helping them access emergency accommodation and reconnecting them with support, family and friends.
Stockton Borough Council's Councillor Steve Nelson, said: "Our official figures suggest we don’t have any rough sleepers in Stockton borough, however, we do recognise there may be some individuals we do not know about.
"I hope this campaign will help us identify them so we can offer the support they need to ensure they don’t have to spend another night on our region’s streets.”
Members of the public can report rough sleepers by calling Street Link on 0300 500 0914 or visiting streetlink.org.uk.
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