Almost 600 homes in England at risk every day

14 August 2014

600 homes at risk

Nearly 600 households in England are at risk of losing their homes every day, new research reveals today.

The research, which comes from Ministry of Justice statistics, also identified hotspots around the country where the risk is particularly high. While Barking and Dagenham topped the list, the problem isn’t just in London – Nottingham and Salford also showed up in the top 20.

The findings come as sky-high housing costs are pushing more and more families to the brink. With finances stretched to breaking point, just one thing, like a sudden illness or job loss, can leave a family facing homelessness.

With cuts to the safety net hitting hard, Shelter’s helpline is fighting to meet the demand. Since 2011, calls from people struggling with rent arrears have almost doubled.

Pauline and her family faced repossession last year, after her husband was made redundant. Though they tried to negotiate with the mortgage company, they were served a repossession notice, with their court date set for Christmas Eve. Luckily, Shelter got their hearing suspended and helped them agree a new payment plan with the mortgage lender – and Pauline’s family got to stay in their home.

She says: ‘If it hadn’t been for Shelter we would have spent Christmas out on the street.  My husband had always been in work and we had a mortgage – we just never expected something like this could happen to us.’

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said ‘582 households at risk of losing their home every day is 582 too many. Each one of these will have had their lives turned upside down by this experience.

‘Tragically, we are seeing more and more people coming to us for help – people who were struggling to make ends meet, and then just one change of circumstances sent them spiralling towards homelessness. We urgently need people’s support so we can help more people avoid the nightmare of losing their home.’