Review reveals true picture of homelessness in South Tyneside

Homelessness has been looked at as part of a council report
Homelessness has been looked at as part of a council report

Four people are sleeping rough on the streets of South Tyneside, according to a recent report.

The issue of homelessness has been revisited ahead of new legislation coming into force in April.

Coun Jim Foreman

Coun Jim Foreman

The Homelessness Reduction Act aims to place greater emphasis on intervention and providing advice to prevent homelessness.

A report commissioned by South Tyneside Council’s Place Select Committee looking at the scale of the borough’s homelessness revealed four people were sleeping rough on the streets.

However, on the date officers carried out their research no one was found sleeping rough. The number was included as officers, during routine checks have come across those who sleep rough.

Paul Baldasera, Strategy and Democracy Officer with the council, said: “The picture we started with, and the perception is, is that South Tyneside has a big problem with homelessness.

Sometimes people need just a little bit of support to get back on their feet, others cases are really indepth and we need to get into them and sort them out.

Coun Jim Foreman

“When you talk about homelessness people immediately think about rough sleepers. We have four rough sleepers, and all four of them have been spoken to and don’t want to engage with services.

“What we are talking about, is not just the rough sleepers, but those looking for houses and are maybe sleeping on people’s sofas.

“We are also dealing with more complex cases, the housing issue may be one symptom, but we are also looking at other different things.”

At the moment there is only one place in South Shields where South Tyneside’s Homeless Service is delivered.

Plans are now being looked at to increase the number of places in other areas where people can access help and support as well as more partnership working with other agencies and the causes behind why a person has found themselves homeless.

Coun Jim Foreman said he felt people should be placed in different categories.

He said: “What we should be doing is categorising people, sofa surfers, benefit anomalies, people not claiming the right kind of benefit at the right time which could be put them at risk.

“There is also age-related solutions. What might be good for a young person might not help an older person.

“Sometimes people need just a little bit of support to get back on their feet, others cases are really indepth and we need to get into them and sort them out.”