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Financial situation deteriorating for majority of low income social housing tenants

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Financial situation deteriorating for majority of low income social housing tenants

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance

Charity calls for rent cap as 600 families face being made homeless Charity calls for rent cap as 600 families face being made homeless

Almost two thirds of social housing households feel that their financial situation has worsened in the last year, a survey has revealed.

The study, by charity Turn2us, has found that on average, people living in social housing are forced to spend over half (55%) of their monthly income on utility bills and food.

Meanwhile, those living in the private rented sector have to spend over a quarter (26%) of their income on rent.

Worryingly, just under a half (47%) of social housing tenants say their outgoings now outweigh their earnings.

Tenants are also facing barriers as they try to improve their situation. With 1.4 million in part-time jobs nationally – 46,000 higher than a year ago – over two thirds of social housing tenants (68%) say they want to work more hours but they cannot get the work.

A quarter of tenants reported a fall in their income in the last year.

Turn2us’ research also found that despite the struggles faced by those in the private rented sector on low incomes, 64% are not claiming the benefits and tax credits they may be entitled to.

And 61% had not even checked their eligibility for this support, or did not know how to check what help may exist.

Turn2us has warned that the toll the financial struggles are taking on lives is severe.

Over half (53%) of social housing tenants have had no choice but to cut back on food and other essentials. Health is also being put at risk with 36% unable to sleep and experiencing depression.

Worrying figures from the Trussell Trust today revealed that food bank use has soared by 163% in the last 12 months.

In response, Turn2us Benefits Awareness Month is focusing on people who are in work yet struggling to make ends meet.

The campaign, ‘Be Aware’, is encouraging everyone to check what financial support could be available by using Turn2us’ free, online benefits calculator.

The website also features information on support for different employment groups, so that people can access further help, whether they are employed full-time or part-time, self-employed, on zero contracts, or on leave.

Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said: “Today, Turn2us launches Benefits Awareness Month and reveals the extent to which working households are struggling in poverty. Our research shows that the stranglehold on pay, underemployment and the climbing cost of living all show no signs of easing and any economic improvements are failing to reach the UK’s poorest people. It’s clear that more needs to be done to combat poverty, especially for those people in work.

“Help is available in the form of Working Tax Credit and other welfare benefits and it can make a huge difference. We found that 85% of current claimants in work said benefits have had a positive impact on their lives and helped with housing costs, bills and even avoiding debt. The Turn2us ‘Be Aware’ campaign brings together our free Benefits Calculator and information so others can access this vital support.

“Our message is clear. Being in work does not mean the end of help. We want everyone to know they are not alone and to ‘Be Aware’ of the support that is available.”

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