A homelessness charity is preparing for an influx of calls this Christmas, as it reveals last year people from the region called its helpline every seven minutes.
Research from Shelter and M&S shows in 2016 the charity’s national helpline received more than 5,500 calls from the East Midlands in the two months leading into Christmas.
Calls from people in the East Midlands to the helpline have increased by 26 per cent over the past year.
Now the homelessness charity is bracing itself for a huge increase in calls as the crippling combination of rising homelessness, sky-high rents, problems with Universal Credit and a lack of affordable homes means this winter even more people could find themselves living in dire straits.
Mark Cook, a helpline adviser for Shelter, said: “Every Christmas I speak to parents in despair as they face the trauma of homelessness, when they should be filling stockings and looking forward to Christmas dinner.
“Even though I’ll be working at Christmas, I think myself so lucky to be able to go home at the end of the day when there are so many families having to go without such a basic need.”
The Shelter helpline is funded by M&S customers throughout the festive season, with five per cent of every purchase made from the ‘Festive Collection for Shelter’ going directly to the charity.
The contribution means the helpline can offer housing advice and support every single day of the year for people battling bad housing and homelessness.
Mark continued: “No family should face the agony of losing the roof over their heads, which is why we’re calling on people to get their lunch from M&S’s Festive Collection for Shelter.
“Something as simple as buying a sandwich could make the world of difference to a family whose home is on the line this Christmas.”
Mike Barry, ‘Plan A’ director at M&S, said: “We know our customers care about this issue and purchasing lunch from our Festive Collection for Shelter is a small, simple way they can make a big difference this Christmas.
“With calls to the Shelter helpline increasing by 25 per cent over the past year it’s more important than ever we support this important cause.”
For further information on the work that Shelter does, and to make a donation, visit the charity’s website www.shelter.org.uk