SINCE Covid restrictions began to ease in June, Shelter’s emergency helpline has been inundated with 66 calls a day from people in Yorkshire and the Humber, new data has revealed.

More than 4,000 unique callers from Yorkshire and the Humber rang the charity’s free helpline in urgent need of support and advice between June and October.

Of those calling, 70 per cent were already homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Vital Covid protections, such as the evictions ban, were critical in keeping thousands of people safe in their homes.

But as they have gradually wound down and living costs have increased, more people have been contacting the housing charity for help.

Almost one in four callers needed urgent help to find temporary accommodation, and 28 per cent needed help to try and keep hold of their current home.

With the latest government figures showing a household becomes homeless every four minutes, Shelter is warning that a difficult winter lies ahead.

Andrea Deakin, Helpline Manager at Shelter, said: “The last year has been hard, and 2022 is going to be just as tough.

“Now Covid protections have ended and living costs are soaring, we’re answering calls from thousands of people in Yorkshire and the Humber who are homeless or about to be.”

One of the reasons Shelter can keep its emergency helpline open 365 days a year is through its longstanding partnership with M&S Food.

A percentage of every sale from M&S’s festive Food on the Move range, including Christmas sandwiches, goes directly towards the emergency helpline.

Andrea added: “We’re working every day, including Christmas day, to make sure no one faces homelessness alone, but we’ve got our work cut out.

“By the time we get that call, most people have exhausted every other avenue - from the family about to be evicted, to the person facing another night sleeping in their car.

“As well as helping us to give expert support, everyone who picks something up from M&S’s Food on the Move range, is giving hope for a brighter 2022.”

Jo Daniels, Head of Partnerships at M&S, said: “We’ve been supporting Shelter since 2005 and are incredibly proud of the work they do.

“Not only do we support through our Festive Food on the Move range, but Shelter is also one of our Sparks charities, meaning customers can help every time they shop.”