Councillor calls for more efforts to tackle homelessness

A Berwick town councillor has called for greater efforts to resolve homelessness in the area.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 11 January, 2019, 10:49
Karin Graham, Grove ward, Berwick Town Council

Coun Karin Graham, member for Grove ward, raised the subject at Monday night’s people and communities committee.

She said: “One of my residents has recently come back on the scene and is homeless and it’s winter. He camps in the summer but is moved on by the police and has no fixed abode. Occasionally there are another two join him and that’s just the ones I know about from my ward area. They sleep on the doorstep of the Chandelry or up in the woods and it’s just not right.

“We have no accommodation for anyone with a criminal record. The new shelter on Middle Street in Spittal is up and running and it’s fantastic but you’re not allowed to go in there if you’ve got a criminal record.

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“All the police can do sometimes is arrest them but they have to go to Wallsend. These people feel the need to break the law, perhaps by something like swearing at the officer so they can be arrested and get a roof over their head. That’s barbaric and those days should be over. There is a gap here.”

Town clerk Gareth Davies agreed: “If you are homeless in Blyth there is almost a circuit of Blyth, Ashington, North Shields where you can move around from place to place.”

He is keen to work with Northumberland County Council so there can be a better understanding of the specifics of rural homelessness.