In the last year alone Newcastle City Council spent almost £1m on temporary accommodation for homeless families.

Add in the other North East councils spending on emergency accommodation and it brings the regional total to over £1.3m. It's estimated that the national spending on emergency accommodation will be around £1.1bn. The Evening Chronicle reported these shocking new stats through information obtained through Freedom of Information requests, but we believe that in reality the numbers are much higher.

'Hidden Homeless'

Thousands of young people leave home each year before they reach 18, while some are able to find suitable housing, many others become homeless. Many young homeless people aren't being counted in these statistics because they're not statutorily homeless, as they can rely on extended family members and friends to provide them with floor or sofa to sleep on for a few nights at a time. To be classed as statutorily homeless, a young person has to apply for help from their local authority, who will decided if they are statutorily homeless or not depending on their circumstances.

Breakdowns of family relationships have been identified as the main cause of homelessness, often following years of family conflict and some violent and abusive situations. Research shows that among those most likely to become homeless are young people who have had a troubled childhood, have parents with mental health problems, or have came from a violent or abusive home.

Without a reliable and supportive roof over their head, many young people aren't able to continue in education or find employment, making them particularly vulnerable. A recent survey of homeless young people found that 34% of those who responded suffered from poor mental health, 25% had been in local authority care and 32% were drug or alcohol dependant. Self harming, crime and violence are also behaviours that are linked with youth homelessness.

The exact number of hidden homeless young people is difficult to know because they are hidden, but the number is expected to be in the thousands.

We're here to help.

Last year YMCA Newcastle supported 330 young people to overcome a personal crisis such as homelessness. We provide food, drink, clothing, access to hardship grants and intense 1-2-1 support. We offer job coaching to allow young people to access employment and education and provide family counselling and support to prevent family breakdowns that can lead to homelessness.

March is SleepEasy month, organisations and groups will be sleeping rough for a night so others don't have to. They'll be braving the cold and sacrificing their beds for a night to raise money for our crises and 1-2-1 support programmes. You can donate to our SleepEasy appeal here.