Harrogate homeless charity reveals "shocking" figures

Harrogate homeless charity reveals "shocking" figures

Published at 6:04am 29th June 2015. (Updated at 2:38pm 29th June 2015)

A project which supports homeless people in Harrogate has helped more than 190 people over 12 months.

Between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, the Harrogate Homeless Project's 'No Second Night Out' scheme has had 244 referrals, helping 195 people.

The scheme provides emergency shelter to anyone who needs it at their offices on Bower Street.

After that first night, the scheme then helps place people in long-term accommodation.

However, the charity says it's very difficult to find people somewhere to stay.

Andy Kirk, Manager of 'No Second Night Out', said: "The stereotypical people with drug and alcohol dependency, we're always going to get those referrals. But the vast majority of our referrals are normal people who are just down on their luck. Loss of job, relationship breakdown, very few support issues, but all with the same issue of homelessness.

"Eveyone's in the same boat when it comes to that point. The problem with Harrogate is it's so expensive to rent here, people are priced out of property. There's only so long people can stay with family and friends before they approach services like ourselves."

You can hear more from Andy here:

178 of the individuals provided with emergency shelter were UK nationals.

14 were EEA nationals (within the EU) and three were from outside the EU.

163 were male and 32 were female.

The Harrogate Homeless Project says 87% of the people referred into the 'No Second Night Out' scheme received sustainable offers of accommodation preventing them from returning to the street.

Harrogate Homeless Project

Jon Mortimer is one of the 195 people who the project supported over the last year.

You can hear his story here:

We've been speaking to a 59-year-old woman, from Harrogate, who wants to be known as Jackie.

She came to the Harrogate Homeless Project in May of last year, just days after losing her home.

Jackie said: "Due to depression and various circmstances, I did have a full-time job and a home, but I lost it all and I lost everything. I started with the Harrogate Homeless Project with nothing.

"I never, ever imagined me being in a homeless hostel, especially at my age. It can easily happen to anyone. Your job might be solid today, but it might not be tomorrow. Your house may be there today, but who knows. You can never be sure your future is secure."

Jackie said people have misconceptions about who homeless people are.

She added: "They've got an idea that a homeless person is someone out on the street begging. They're drug addicts, they're alcholics. It's just not that way at all. Everyone of you can end up with nothing tomorrow. Everything can fall apart. I've never taken a drug in my life, I very rarely drink. My problem was mental health issues and I got into a place I found it extremely difficult to get out of."