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 numerous bed spaces throughout the county. Demand for these is increasing year on year.
During the 2022/23 financial year DASH received and accepted a total of 799 referrals. 603 coming from local authorities and support agencies etc. 163 self-referrals were received, and the remainder were from prisons and health services. 47 of the referrals found alternative accommodation whist waiting for DASH accommodation. This may have been pre or post interview at DASH.
Since the removal of Covid restrictions, our support staff performed face to face interviews with potential residents. Of those interviewed DASH was able to offer accommodation to 59 people during the year and housed 98 people in total. 31 women with complex needs moved into the Vulnerable Women’s Project. 12 other residents were accommodated in the Private Landlord Partnership properties, 14 moved into Harry Mears House and 2 moved into unsupported properties.
The disparity between those seeking accommodation and those whom we can make an offer to is a key driver towards our expansion of DASH accommodation.
61 residents moved on from DASH accommodation. 5 of those moved into properties owned by private landlords, housing associations or local authority. 8 women were moved internally either because of risk assessment or to be more independent. 2 residents moved back into the family home, while 5 moved in with friends and 6 moved in with a family member. 30 residents abandoned their property without leaving a forwarding address. The remaining residents went on to other supported accommodation, hospital, or prison.
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. Our data, taken from our referrals 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.
If you’re in need of supported accommodation because of homelessness, why not fill out our secure online referral form. It only takes minutes to complete and can be accessed from here – Online referral form.