The national homelessness charity Shelter has this week warned of the number of households at risk of losing their homes. Shelter’s press release said:
“One in every 142 households in the South East are at risk of losing their home, new analysis from Shelter reveals. The research, based on data recorded by the Ministry of Justice, found that this is equivalent to 162 people in the region being put at risk of eviction or repossession every day of the year.
“The charity also identified the hotspots across the region where people are most likely to face losing their home. Slough topped the list with as many as 1 in every 54 homes at risk of eviction or repossession, followed by Gravesham (1 in 69) and Medway (1 in 74) both in Kent.
“The charity is warning that sky-high housing costs are leaving more and more families teetering on a financial knife-edge. With little or no savings to fall back on, just one thing, like a sudden illness, can be all it takes to tip a family into a downward spiral towards losing their home.”
I was asked for my comments by the Brighton Argus who covered the issue in today’s (03/12/14) paper. This is what I said:
“This prediction could come true, and it could be worse if and when mortgage interest rates increase. Many households are hanging on by their fingertips. An interest rate increase would be the tipping point for them.
“We are working increasingly with people who never thought that they would need the help of a homelessness charity. We are meeting people in the County Court who are at imminent risk of losing their home. In most cases we can achieve a positive outcome for them, and they can stay in their home. My advice is to get advice and to get it as early as possible.
“The answer is to this challenge is twofold: make sure there are the advice services available to prevent homelessness, and for those who are homeless, build homes for rent, and ensure that the rent is genuinely affordable. There are many of us who have creative solutions. What we need is local councils to make land available. We can do the rest at no cost to the local authority. It is a win-win situation, but the biggest winners would be those who have lost their homes.”
Here are contact details for BHT’s Advice Centres: