DASH provides accommodation for single homeless people in County Durham. As well as rough sleepers, the kinds of homeless people DASH help include those 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 a number of bed spaces throughout the county. Demand for these is increasing year on year. In 2020, DASH received 742 referrals from people who were homeless or threatened with homelessness, an increase of 2.3% from the previous year, when 725 people were referred. Of the 742, 543 were male and 192 were female.
It is fairly widely known that the main issue in County Durham is more that of ‘hidden homelessness’ rather than sleeping rough on the streets. 588 of the 742 people referred, were staying in temporary accommodation including prison, living with friends, hospital, bed and breakfast, sofa-surfing, supported housing, probation hostels 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.