Shelter says 4,000 households at risk of losing their home every week
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing
More than 215,000 homes in England are at risk of eviction or repossession, the equivalent of 4,140 households threatened every week or almost 600 a day, according to new research released by Shelter.
Chief executive Campbell Robb said: "Just one thing such as a job loss or serious illness can tip any of us in to a downward spiral that puts our home at risk. Our message is that no one should battle alone. Shelter can help."
The housing charity has revealed the hotspots across the country where people are most likely to face losing their home, showing Newham in London at the top of the list with 1 in 34 homes under threat, and Salford as the eviction and repossession risk capital of the north (1 in 60).
The top 10 are all London boroughs: Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Southwark, Hackney, Haringey, Brent, Lewisham, Greenwich, Waltham Forest and Enfield. Only three places outside of London are on the 20-strong list: Nottingham in 15th, Peterborough 19th and Salford 20th.
The research is based on data recorded by the Ministry of Justice over the last financial year, showing how many homeowners and private or social renters have received a possession notice for their home.
Robb said: "These staggering figures show just how many families go through the trauma of learning that their home is at risk, every single week. People are hearing that the economy is recovering, but we’re seeing the reality that many families across the country are still battling to keep their heads above water and keep their homes."
Shelter is warning that, despite the beginnings of economic recovery, growing numbers of families are still set to struggle financially in the future. It predicts that many could soon hit danger levels.
Shelter’s free advice helpline is currently taking more than 480 calls each day. The charity is stressing that people must get advice as soon as possible to prevent arrears from spiralling out of control, and start preparing for future mortgage or rent rises.
Shelter provided the case study of Jo who lived in a two bed house in Suffolk with her then two year old son and husband. She faced the trauma of being repossessed after her business went bankrupt after the recession and her relationship broke down.
"My home was more than just a house, it was the centre of my world. I never thought I’d lose it," Jo said.
"Repossession is a devastating process to go through and I can understand why people find it too overwhelming to deal with and do nothing as a result. It was too late to save my home but with support from friends and help from Shelter I avoided homelessness thankfully. I now rent a home from the council and am getting back on my feet."
Figures are based on possession claims issued in county courts between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 (Ministry of Justice), compared with the number of households in the area (Census 2011). There was a total of 215,305 possession claims in England between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014. A possession claim is the first stage in a process which can end with the loss of a home.