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20 November 2013, 05:00
A homeless charity's warning more people in the North East will find it hard to keep a roof over their heads this Christmas.
It comes as Shelter say they've seen a huge rise in the number of people contacting their helpline in the last year.
Calls from our region are up by 12%, with almost 2,500 calls since 2012.
It's being blamed on rising bills.
Liz Clare, a Shelter helpline adviser for nine years, says the Christmas period is the most difficult time of year for her and colleagues.
"The threat of homelessness is devastating at any time of year, but it seems to get worse around Christmas as the strains of the holidays close in and the weather gets cold.
One Christmas Eve I answered a call from a mum with a disabled son. They were evicted from their home that night and had to sleep on the streets in the cold.
We managed to find them a place to stay, but I'll never forget the devastation in her voice. The sad fact is that eviction notices can come at any time of year."
The Shelter helpline is open 365 days a year, with a dedicated team of 50 expert advisors.
Earlier this month, the charity launched an emergency appeal for the 140 children in the North East who will wake up homeless this Christmas.
Many of these children will be forced to spend Christmas day cramped into one room of a hostel or bed and breakfast with their entire family, far removed from the home comforts many look forward to over the Christmas season.
Shelter's free, national telephone advice line is opened Monday-Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm.
For housing advice you can call 0808 800 4444.