Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, yesterday warned of a potential surge in homelessness in 2009 as it opened the doors of Crisis Christmas to hundreds of homeless people.
Following official figures showing record unemployment levels, a YouGov survey on behalf of Crisis has revealed that 41% of adults in Britain know somebody who has lost their job due to the economic downturn.
Unemployment is hitting home with almost one in ten (9%) of people with a mortgage or rent repayment already struggling to pay the rent or mortgage.
In addition, a third of those surveyed (32.4%) believed they would lose their home within three months of losing their main form of income – leading to fears of a surge in homelessness in the New Year.
The survey also reveals that the poorest are the most vulnerable to the impact of the economic downturn, with more than three times as many people with lower incomes struggling to pay the rent and mortgage compared to more affluent groups in Britain.
Poorer people are also more concerned about losing their jobs and homes.
The findings were announced on the day that Crisis is opening nine temporary centres across London to hundreds of people who are already homeless and vulnerably housed.
The centres provide vital companionship, hot meals and shelter as well as services including housing, job advice, health checks, training and further education opportunities.
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: ‘These figures are a stark warning for 2009.
‘Today we open the doors of Crisis Christmas to hundreds of homeless people in London – some of the most vulnerable and deprived people in our society.
‘The economic downturn is hitting the poorest the hardest.
‘Many are struggling to keep their homes.
‘The situation is only made worse by pressure on jobs, with unemployment levels set to reach two million by the end of the year.
‘Our fear is that as the recession bites in the New Year we are going to see more people in the same situation as those relying on our Christmas centres today, whilst those already at the bottom of the pile are going to be further away from the help and support they need to put their lives back together.’