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UNIQUE PROJECT TO TACKLE POOR HOUSING AMONGST ETHNIC MINORITIES

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The leading housing charity Shelter is today launching an innovative ...
The leading housing charity Shelter is today launching an innovative

Multi-Lingual Advice Project in Newcastle, supported by Barclays and

New Deal for Communities, aimed at addressing the acute housing

problems experienced by the city's black and minority ethnic groups.

Ethnic minority households make up nearly a third of all homelessness

acceptances in England despite comprising about 8 per cent of the total

population , and over a quarter of all BME households live in poor

housing . The charity is also revealing the devastating impact

overcrowding has on children from BME groups. Bangladeshi and Pakistani

families in particular are at least ten times more likely to live in an

overcrowded home than white families . This can lead to serious

health and education problems and many children often do not even have

room to play with friends.

Bob Finch, manager of Shelter's new project said: 'Families from BME

communities in Newcastle often have less access to appropriate housing

advice. When you bear in mind there are sometimes language barriers,

which makes it hard for BME groups to complete housing forms and even

fears of being housed in areas of racial harassment - there are serious

obstacles for many to overcome. This project is aimed at empowering

residents to make informed choices about their housing needs.'

The new service is supported by Newcastle New Deal for Communities, and

is one of over 100 projects improving life for residents in Arthur's

Hill, Cruddas Park, Rye Hill and Elswick. Programme officer Gill

Whitehead said: 'The new Shelter project will be a vital service for

hundreds of local residents. It's the latest in a string of New Deal

housing initiatives including an affordable warmth scheme and

homelessness education project led by young people in the area.'

Also funded by Barclays North East, Stella McRae, community manager

said: 'This project will go a long way in helping socially excluded

communities that desperately need advice and information. At Barclays we

are committed to communities and we are delighted to support this

project. This is a great opportunity for us to make a real and lasting

difference to the local community.'

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