North East Homeless: A charity making a difference in the North East region
Written by James Young on 28th November 2022
Homelessness is on the rise across the UK with 227,000 people sleeping rough in 2021. This led to 741 deaths across the UK relating to homelessness.
North East Homeless is a charity that looks to support vulnerable and homeless people in the North East of England.
Brian Burridge, the founder of North East Homeless, decided to set up a Facebook group in 2014. The group brought the North East community spirit together to help Homeless people in Newcastle by providing sleeping bags food and clothing. In November 2016, North East Homeless was a great success which went from being a Facebook group to a charity. They also have a café and venue called the Fish Quay Hub, a public space where you can enjoy food and socialise with people in South Shields.
Steven Riddell from North East Homeless spoke to us about the contributing factors to homelessness in the UK.
How does the Charity help in the North East and how can the Government help more with homelessness across the UK?
“I would say a lot of the people we come across are stuck in a revolving cycle of homelessness and poverty. It is very hard for an individual to get out of the cycle once they become homeless. They may become homeless for several reasons. Drugs, alcohol, poor life skills, mental health issues, some don’t want to conform to society’s rules. Care leavers with no life skills.”
Have you started to see an increase in homelessness due to the current living crisis?
“In the private rental requirements yes there has been on increase however I don’t think we are seeing the fall out yet from the living crisis I believe we will see this within the next year.”
North East Homeless has been a group since 2014 but what are they doing to help homelessness in the North East?
“We have an outreach twice a week where we give out warm healthy food, hot drink, sleeping bags, tents waterproof jackets, and warm clothes and we also have a social supermarket and follow the principle of take what you need and leave what you can. We try to make it as dignified as possible.”
How do you feel the Government could help more with homelessness across the UK?
“I feel that the lack of social housing is a massive issue. Affordable housing doesn’t work for people on benefits. Stop giving tenants on housing benefit the housing benefit in the bank.” He also calls for people to “be educated around life skills.” He also encourages the Government to “address why people are continually finding themselves on the street and a set of keys is not a solution to homelessness.”
To find out more about North East Homeless, head over to northeasthomeless.org.uk.