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8,000 people at risk of losing their housing every week - 05 Jun 2015

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More than 8,300 people in England were put at risk of losing their home each week in the year to the end of March, the housing charity Shelter said on Friday.

It analysed Ministry of Justice figures for possession claims by mortgage lenders and landlords to identify how many households had been threatened with losing their home, and find the country’s “home threat hotspots”.

In the east London boroughs of Newham, and Barking and Dagenham it said one in every 38 homes was subject to a possession claim, while in the boroughs of Haringey, Lewisham and Hackney, the figure was one in 45. The first 14 hotspots on the list were all in the capital, where housing costs are highest and pressure on stock greatest.

Possession claims are the first stage in the court process to evict a tenant or repossess a mortgaged property. The Ministry of Justice estimated that in 2014 around 20% of claims related to mortgages and 25% of claims related to tenants ended in repossession and eviction. Recently tenant evictions have been running at a much higher level than mortgage repossessions and social landlords, like housing associations, have been behind the majority of them.

In Enfield in north London, which was seventh on Shelter’s list, as many as one in 21 households in rented accommodation faced a possession claim. In contrast, among homeowners the scale was one in 171. Outside London, Slough featured highest on the list, where one in 58 homes are at risk, Peterborough (one in 61), Manchester (one in 66) and Rochdale (one in 68) also made it into the top 20.

Nadeem Khan, an adviser on Shelter’s helpline, said: “We’re hearing from thousands of people who have suffered in silence while they struggle to keep up with their rent or mortgage, and come to us in desperation when the court papers finally land on their doormat.”

The charity’s director of services, Alison Mohammed, said: “These staggering figures show just how many people are fighting to keep their families in their homes, after dealing with the double blow of welfare cuts and a drastic shortage of affordable housing. “We’re doing everything we can to give advice and support to anyone who faces losing the roof over their heads, but the government must also play its part by putting a stop to further cuts to the safety net which helps ordinary families stay in their homes.”

"Article Reproduced from The Guardian"