Call for talks about homelessness issue

Berwick Town Council is to seek a multi-agency meeting to discuss homelessness issues.

Saturday, 17th February 2018, 7:27 am
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While the numbers of homeless people are thought to be relatively low, the concern is that Berwick does not have the facilities to help them since the loss of a home in Spittal.

Coun Karin Graham, chairman of the people and communities committee, said: “We are a small community and we don’t have the need to go out and count rough sleepers but they are there and there is no provision at all for them in the town.

“There have been instances where people have broken into derelict properties or gone to stay in the old coal yard. There are others who I’ve tried to get on to Homefinder but they don’t fit the criteria, perhaps because they’ve got a criminal record. These are mostly young and incredibly vulnerable people.”

In particular, councillors are keen to address problems of hidden homelessness.

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Coun Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East on Northumberland County Council, added: “It’s not about people sleeping in cardboard boxes; it’s people going from sofa to sofa at their friends’ houses.”

Mayor Gregah Roughead suggested inviting Northumbria Police, Northumberland County Council, Salvation Army, Berwick Youth Project, housing groups and residents’ associations to a meeting.