Manchester households most at risk of repossession and eviction outside London, charity Shelter reveals

By Henry Vaughan & Michael Kelleher

Repossession risk in Manchester is nearly double the national average, with one in every 66 homes threatened, according to figures released today.

The research by housing and homeless charity Shelter presents a worrying picture of the areas across the North West where households are most under threat of becoming homeless.

Figures from the year up to September 2012 reveal that 27, 815 households were threatened with losing their home due to possession claims made against them.

This puts the region at the highest risk outside London, with one in every 112 households facing homelessness, higher than the national average, which stands at one per 115 households.

Campbell Robb, chief Executive of Shelter, said: “It’s truly shocking how many people in the North West are living with the threat of becoming homeless.

“In some areas, the risk of being evicted or repossessed is so high that one home in every street could be affected.”

The problem is most extreme in urban areas with Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and Oldham revealed as the region’s hot-spots.

Mr Robb added: “This report is a stark reminder that homelessness can happen to anyone – all it takes is one event such as a redundancy or relationship break up, and whole families are at risk of losing their home.”

Last month MM reported that more than 500 children will wake up homeless on Christmas Day as families are left without a permanent home.

Mr Robb said: “This year more than 75,000 children will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day.

“Shelter’s helpline and face to face advice services help prevent families from becoming homeless, and this Christmas we’re asking for everyone’s support so that we can carry on keeping families in their homes, and help them into a home should the worst happen.”

Gill Payne, National Housing Federation director of neighbourhoods, outlined the difficulties facing families struggling to cope with rising living costs.

“There are millions of families really struggling to keep on top of their rising rents, yet their future is looking bleak,” she said.

“High housing costs are a huge financial pressure on families, and at a time when the cost of living is rising rapidly, many families are in real fear of losing their home.”

An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report released last week found that squeezed families’ weekly spending rose to a new high last year.

Households typically spent around £483.60 a week on their regular outgoings, representing a £10 a week increase compared with 2010.

A rise in petrol prices has made transport costs skyrocket and consumers are feeling the effects.

Labour housing spokesman Jack Dromey hit out at the government’s failed economic policies for piling the pressure on families.

“It is an absolute tragedy that, with Christmas approaching, so many people are in fear of losing their home,” he said.

“The Government’s failed economic policies have choked off recovery and hit already hard pressed family budgets making it more difficult to pay the rent or keep up the mortgage.”

With the demand for rented properties currently outstripping the number available, the crisis looks set to worsen.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that it expects rent to rise by 4% next year across the UK.

Approximately 60% of private sector tenants are thought to be potential buyers who are unable to afford a mortgage deposit to buy their own home.

Visit Shelter to make a donation or Text HOMES to 87085 to give £3 to Shelter emergency Christmas appeal.

Picture courtesy of Alex Pepperhill, with thanks.

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