Knife-edge nation: 40% of working adults in North West one pay cheque from losing home, says homeless charity

Nearly one million working adults in the North West are just one paycheque away from losing their homes due to lack of savings, according to the homeless charity, Shelter.

The YouGov survey of working adults who pay rent or a mortgage found that nearly 1million working adults (40%) in the North West could not pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job,

The research also found that 650,000 (27%) of working adults in the North West would be unable to afford their rent or mortgage repayments unless they immediately found another job.

It’s a worrying issue that is not restricted to the North West, as 8.6million (40%) working adults from across the UK could not pay their rent or mortgage from savings for more than a month if they lost their job.

Kate Murray, who lives with her five year old daughter and disabled mother, lost her job as a business manager with only three days’ notice when her employer went bankrupt in October 2013.

Kate said: “Before my employer went bankrupt they hadn’t been paying me properly for a while, so I’d started to fall behind on my mortgage.

“Then I got the letter through the door saying they wanted to take my house back. I was petrified. It’s not the best house but at least it’s our house.

“I thought, what am I going to do? How am I going to tell my daughter and my mum that we have to move out?”

Liz Clare, who is a helpline advisor at Shelter, said the research highlights the ‘financial knife-edge’ that millions of people find themselves in – living month to month, pay cheque to pay cheque.

“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,” she said.

She adds that 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,” she said.

“We need better government support to give families the short-term help they need to keep their homes if they fall on hard times.”

The charity’s findings also showed that 3.8million working families from across the UK could not pay their rent or mortgage from their savings for more than a month if they lost their job.

Of these families, 2.4million have no savings to fall back on at all.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Finding another job is hard enough, but without a stable place to live it’s almost impossible.

“No matter how hard ordinary families work, in today’s ‘knife-edge nation’ any drop in income can all too quickly put their home at serious risk.

“The government must make sure the safety net is strong enough to stop families falling through the gaps, and going through the tragedy of losing their homes.”

Image courtesy of Alex, with thanks.

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