4 out of 10 families cut back on food to stay in their homes

27 March 2013

Young child

4 out of 10 families with children have cut down on what they spend on food to help pay for their housing costs in the past year.

Shelter’s YouGov poll of 4,000 people also found that more than one in four (27%) had cut back on gas and electricity bills to help meet their rent or mortgage costs.

Across the population as a whole, a third of people (31%) had cut back on food and one in five (20%) had reduced their spend on household fuel.

The research also found that 57% of adults, and 64% of families with children, struggled to pay their rent or mortgage last year

As the cost of living continues to rise and the next wave of government cuts hit this April, Shelter is concerned that even more people will struggle to pay their housing costs.

Teri, from Essex, is registered disabled. She's a single mum to her 15 year old daughter. She said:

‘I struggle to pay the rent and once I find the money for that there is little left each week to feed, clothe and provide basic essentials for me or my daughter.

'I try and plan meals that will make food go further and go online to see who has the cheapest prices. I feel totally exhausted with worry about paying the rent and the weekly food shop’.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said:

‘These startling figures show the daily heartache millions of parents are going through as they face the choice between putting food on the table and paying for the roof over their head.

‘The effects of the recession, the rising cost of housing and cuts to the housing safety net have left many families in a very vulnerable position. Every fifteen minutes a family in England finds themselves homeless.

‘We’ve seen more and more people coming to us for help in the last six months. For thousands of people already desperately battling to keep their home, further benefit changes next month could be the final blow.

‘Anyone whose home could be at risk should get advice as soon as possible. Shelter can help prevent more families going through the devastation of losing their home.’

Are you worried about your housing costs? Get advice from Shelter