Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A pay-cheque away from being without a home

Three million working families are 'one pay cheque away from losing their home'. Some 48 per cent of families named the cost of housing as the biggest drain on their budget. Families in England are so "stretched to breaking point" that one in three could not afford to pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job, according to new figures. The high cost of housing added to having little or no personal savings to fall back on, and means that three million working families could be just one pay cheque away from losing their home, the Shelter and YouGov study found.

A July 2016 poll asked how long, if at all, did they think they could afford to pay their rent or mortgage from their savings if they lost their job and could not find work? This nightmarish prospect would leave 37 per cent of families unable to cover their housing costs for more than one month, while 23 per cent of working families said they would be unable to pay their housing costs at all.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: "These figures are a stark reminder that sky-high housing costs are leaving millions of working families stretched to breaking point, and barely scraping by from one pay cheque to the next. Any one of us could hit a bump along life's road, and at Shelter we speak to parents every day who, after losing their job or seeing their hours cut, are terrified of losing the roof over their children's heads too.”

A single mother of two children told researchers that although she is working full-time and has moved into a small flat, she still finds keeping up with the rent every month a struggle. She said: "I'm working hard, but it still makes me feel like a failure. I recently changed jobs and hit a rough patch when I thought I wouldn't be able to pay the rent. An employer had given me some work and didn't tell me that my hours wouldn't be guaranteed, I lost a chunk of my income all of a sudden, and very nearly lost my home. It was really scary. There's never a cushion. You'd think if you were working you'd be able to save a little bit every month, but it's just not a possibility when just paying for the basics is so expensive."

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