20 September 2019

Almost half of working renters would only last a month without a job before becoming homeless, according to research by the homelessness charity Shelter.

Using data from almost 4,000 private renters living in England, it was found that 45 per cent of working renters would not afford to pay over a month’s rent if they lost their job.

“I work two jobs, but I’m still in a precarious position”

One of example is Zoe, 44, who is a single parent with a 16-year-old son.

Zoe said: “I work two jobs, but I’m still in a precarious position.

“If for some reason I lost my job, I worry how quickly we’d end up homeless.”

“I can’t afford to save even £10 a month – everything goes.”

Sudden loss of jobs 

An estimated 3 million private renters would be less than a month away from losing their tenancy, according to the findings.

Over 60 per cent of families renting also didn’t have the funds to pay their next month of rent should the main provider of the family lost their jobs.

A sudden loss of jobs could potentially render over half a million vulnerable families unable to pay their rent immediately.

The Chief Executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, said:

“Millions of working people are now caught in an endless cycle of paying grossly expensive private rents they can barely afford.

“Many are terrified that a short-term dip in income could result in them losing their home for good.”

Homeless household every 4 minutes in England

The findings came a week after a previous report from Shelter found that a household became homeless every 4 minutes in England last year.

The report looked at the demographics of applicants to the Charity’s homelessness advice and help schemes.

It was found that 28 per cent of all households found to be made recently homeless or threatened with homelessness had privately rented homes at the time of applying for help from the Charity.

22 per cent of households found to be homeless were also made homeless directly due to the termination of a private rented tenancy.

Spiralling scale of homelessness

Shadow Housing Minister, John Healey MP, said: “This spiralling scale of homelessness shames this government when Britain is one of the richest countries in the world.”

In the same week, Chancellor Sajid Javid, announced an extra £422 million of funding to tackle homelessness.

The boost in funds formed part of a wider strategy to tackle homelessness by the Conservative Government, which included the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 in early last year.

The act made it a duty for the Government to prevent homelessness for applicants threatened with homelessness.

Homeless Reduction Act

Conservative Minister for Housing, Luke Hall MP, said: “The Homelessness Reduction Act is the most ambitious change to homelessness legislation in decades.”

“There is still more to do though, which is why we have committed to a record investment to ending homelessness and rough sleeping for good.”

However, the Shadow Housing Minister said: “Ministers must now back Labour’s plans to end rough sleeping within five years and tackle the root causes of rising homelessness by giving private renters the rights they deserve.”

Source: The London Economic