SINCE the start of the coronavirus pandemic, councils across the region have housed hundreds of rough sleepers, domestic abuse victims and amputees in emergency accommodation.

Thousands of rough sleepers across the UK were housed in hotels and B&Bs as coronavirus hit, after the government introduced its Homelessness Response Fund, which was distributed to English councils.

The government has since allocated a further £105m more to stop people returning to streets since hotels have reopened.

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of development and housing, confirmed that 44 people has been housed in the county through the fund since March. “Ten people went directly into their own tenancies and 32 into supported or B&B accommodation. Eleven of those who went into supported or B&B accommodation have since returned to family and friends,” he said.

Middlesbrough Council currently has 77 people in temporary emergency accommodation in shared or self-contained units.

Of these, 24 have been verified as rough sleepers and 28 were sofa surfing, and therefore potentially homeless.

The council confirmed that it recently moved a double amputee recently discharged from hospital and two people fleeing domestic abuse in secure accommodation after initially placing them in a hotel.

Cllr Kevin Nicholson, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and housing, said that there had been a increase in homeless presentations during the pandemic, and that the council was working with the North East Regional Homeless Group to combat the issue.

“The number of people presenting as homeless has increased across the country, with the main reason being falling out with family and friends,” said Cllr Nicholson.

From June the Housing Options team has had 243 emergency presentations and placed 116 in interim accommodation, which includes B&B and hotel accommodation, and a further 22 in temporary homeless accommodation. As of Friday, June 26, there were 47 households in temporary accommodation.

Stockton Borough Council confirmed that it is working to house homeless people, but did not disclose figures on how many people were involved.