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14.04.14

Housing support vital as 4m families on ‘financial knife-edge’ – Shelter

Nearly four million families are about one month away from homelessness because they would not have enough money to pay their mortgage or rent if they lost their jobs, research has revealed.

More than 7,500 people were surveyed by the housing charity Shelter, which found that 44% of working families with children under the age of 18 are one paycheque away from losing their homes if they became unemployed because they have little or no savings.

Based on a YouGov survey, the charity also found that nearly a third of families would “immediately” be unable to pay for their home if they lost their income.

Liz Clare, a helpline adviser at Shelter, said: “Every day we see the proof that just one piece of bad luck, like a sudden job loss or illness, could tip any of us into a spiral that puts the family home at risk.

“Sky-high housing costs and stagnating wages mean that saving is becoming a thing of the past for many people. Most of us simply don't have enough money in the bank that we can rely on for long enough to get back on our feet.”

The charity has called on the government to provide better short-term support for families in distress. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it spends£94bn a year on benefits – providing a safety net for millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed.

A DWP spokesperson told PSE: “This includes around £24bn a year on housing benefit - which has gone up by 50% over the last 10 years. Homelessness is also down year on year by 4%. And down 63% from 2003.”

(Image copyright: Rubber Dragon)

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