EVERY January housing charity Shelter sees the number of people without a home in Cheshire rise by up to 65%.
Shelter figures show that in December 2005, 260 Cheshire people asked for housing help, rising to 429 in January 2006.
This year the Chester branch is launching a new drop-in advice clinic for anyone with housing worries.
The drop-in advice clinic based at Shelter's Cheshire Housing Advice Centre, offers free independent advice and legal advocacy on a wide range of housing issues, from rent arrears to housing benefit problems, illegal eviction, disrepair and finding a place to live.
Last year, more than 4,700 people sought housing advice across Cheshire and most were either homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Shockingly, almost a fifth of those people seeking advice were sleeping rough, in a hostel or a B&B.
In the same period, 643 homeowners across Chester faced the threat of repossession.
Shelter is encouraging those facing difficulties paying their mortgage to seek advice early on from Shelter to avoid storing up problems for the future.
Shelter Area Manager, John Ryan said: “After Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for people as they struggle to pay rent and other bills and our figures show thousands of people across Cheshire will be starting the New Year homeless or living daily with the fear of losing their home.
“High rents and house prices, combined with a chronic shortage of social housing in the area means it can be a real struggle to find somewhere to live.
“The drop-in clinic offers vital advice and support to people facing any type of housing problems - please come along and find out more about your housing rights.”
The drop-in clinic is at Shelter Housing Advice Centre, 3 York Terrace, Chester, CH1 3LR – off Queen Street, near the rear exit of Tesco.
It is held every Tuesday from 1-4pm and Thursday from 10am-1pm. If you can’t attend the drop-in centre, you can call 0844 515 2315 for advice.