THE number of people sleeping rough on the streets of the North-East has fallen by more than two thirds in just one year.

Figures show an average of 12 people slept rough per night last year, compared to 69 in 2012.

Across the country there was a five per cent increase.

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However, in County Durham, the number fell from 11 to three.

Andrew Burnip, from housing solutions at Durham County Council – who chairs the Regional Homelessness Group, praised the “No Second Night Out” approach adopted by councils and voluntary groups.

“This approach has meant that in many areas of the North-East we have been able to find people sooner and offer them a route into proper shelter.

“In many cases this is a pathway which could ultimately lead them into their own independent home.

“We also now know much more about who is on the street and how best to help them.”

Lindsay Henderson, regional manager for the national charity Homeless Link, said: “The tremendous efforts of local authorities and homeless organisations across the North-East means we have been able to reduce the number of people staying on the streets.

“We have begun to reduce the number of rough sleepers as we are able to find long term solutions which stop people returning to or staying on the streets.”

To report a person sleeping rough and help them, call the National Street Link Line on 0300-500-0914 or visit streetlink.org.uk and Street Link will contact the relevant local services.