DASH provides accommodation for single homeless people in County Durham. As well as rough sleepers, the kinds of homeless people DASH help include people forced to rely on family and friends for somewhere to stay; people leaving hospital, care or prison; and people whose private tenancies are at risk for whatever reason, including financial hardship.
DASH have 61 bed spaces throughout the county. Demand for these is increasing year on year. During the 12-month period between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, DASH received 773 referrals from people who were homeless or threatened with homelessness, an increase of 9% from the previous year, when 710 people were referred. Of the 773, 594 were male and 179 were female. Of those referred between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, 188 were rough sleepers, an increase of 88% from the previous year (102). However, it is fairly widely known that the main issue in Durham is more that of ‘hidden homelessness’ rather than sleeping rough on the streets. The DASH Report on Rough Sleepers within County Durham shows that the majority of people who were referred were in temporary accommodation including prison, living with family or friends, hospital, private sector tenancies, supported housing, probation hostel etc.
A significant change in recent years has been the level of complex needs of people coming into DASH services. DASH manages tenancies for people with long-term mental health problems, people with substance misuse or alcohol problems, people excluded from mainstream housing because of an offending history or financial issues and young inexperienced people on their own for the first time.