149,000 at risk of eviction in the last year!

A march for homes to City Hall in London where thousands of families are living with a threat of eviction hanging over them
A march for homes to City Hall in London where thousands of families are living with a threat of eviction hanging over them

EVERY 90 seconds a renter in England is put at risk of losing their home, warns Shelter.

Research by the housing and homelessness charity has revealed that over 149,000 renting households were put at risk of eviction in the last year – equivalent to approximately one renter every minute and a half.

The shocking new analysis, which uses Ministry of Justice figures, showed that one in every 55 rented households in England have been put at risk of losing their home. The charity also identified the hotspots up and down the country where renters are most likely to face losing their home.

Enfield in north London topped the list, with as many as one in every 21 rented homes at risk of eviction, followed by Barking and Dagenham (one in 22) and Redbridge (one in 27), also in the capital. But the problem stretches well beyond London. Areas such as Peterborough, where one in 32 rented homes are at risk, Luton (one in 32) and Rochdale, (one in 36) also made it into the country’s top twenty-five eviction hotspots.

The charity is warning that a worrying combination of rapidly rising rents, drastic cuts to housing benefit and the chronic lack of genuinely affordable homes will leave thousands of families battling to keep a roof over their heads this Christmas.

Worryingly, the figures also show that as many as 99,000 renters in England have already lost the fight to stay in their home, and been evicted by county court bailiffs in the last year. To make sure they can continue to be there so that no family has to face the trauma of losing their home on their own, Shelter is urgently calling on the public to help by donating to its emergency appeal.

Alison Mohammed, Shelter’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s shocking to think that every couple of minutes someone receives a notice through the door with the devastating news that they might lose their home. We speak to parents every day who are desperately trying to keep a roof over their children’s heads, but with rents soaring and housing support being slashed, many are finding themselves at breaking point.

‘Already, over 100,000 children will wake up homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas, and tragically the situation looks set to get worse. Our advisers will be working non-stop over the festive period to support families at risk of losing their home – but sadly our helpline is receiving a huge number of calls and our services are straining under the demand.

‘We desperately need more support from the public to help us be there for these families and make sure no-one has to fight homelessness on their own this Christmas.’ Shelter’s helpline is open all year round, including Christmas Day, and is staffed by a dedicated team of expert advisers offering free advice and support to anyone who needs it.

Case study: Angela and her five-year-old son lived in the same house for five years, but when Angela’s landlord raised the rent she was unable to keep up and fell into arrears. They were evicted by bailiffs in November, and have been sleeping on a friend’s sofa ever since.

‘Now that we’re homeless, I just don’t know where we’re going to end up, it’s really scary. My son was born in that house, he learned to walk and talk there – we had friends and a garden and a stable home, and now it has all gone. I’ve tried to explain our situation the best way I can to my son and I’m trying to stay positive for him, but it’s so hard.

‘What is keeping me going now, is having Shelter by my side. It’s a huge comfort to know that I don’t have to go through this on my own anymore. I’m so grateful for everything they are doing for me and I hope that with their support and a bit of help from the council that maybe by next Christmas, my son and I will have a place to call home again.’