14:56 PM, 17th March 2021, About 3 years ago 20
Research by Shelter indicates 14% of adults in England are more worried about becoming homeless due to the pandemic.
Eleanor Wilson, a Shelter helpline adviser recruited in response to the pandemic, said:“People are frightened, they’re scared they might do the wrong thing, they don’t know their rights, and they’re really worried they will lose their home. People can be quite distressed and don’t know where to turn. It can be emotional because you feel responsible for every caller.”
“Unsurprisingly”, Shelter’s latest poll carried out by YouGov, shows it is private renters who have fared the worst during the Coronavirus crisis with 27% of private renting adults now in fear of becoming homeless (2.2 million people).
Private renters are also almost twice as likely to feel depressed and anxious about their housing situation, compared with the general public (26%). In fact, nearly half (47%) of private renters say they are more depressed and anxious in light of the pandemic.
These concerns are not unfounded when a quarter of private renters (2 million people) have seen their income decrease in the last six months, and many are struggling to pay their rent. In just the last month:
24% of private renters have had to borrow money to pay their rent
18% have cut back on food or skipped meals to pay their rent
12% have cut back on heating their home to pay their rent
This worrying snapshot of the people struggling to get by during the pandemic chimes with the charity’s frontline services data, which shows two-thirds (63%) of calls answered by its emergency helpline in the last year were from people already homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Polly Neate, said: “Through our helpline we have seen just how scared people are about their homes and their futures. People’s lives are literally on the line. They are desperately struggling, and the threat of homelessness is very real.
“At Shelter we are working hard to keep people safe in their homes. Thanks to the generous support of the public and our partners we have been able to answer double the number of calls, but we need to keep this up if we are going to weather the coming storm. To make sure we can always be on the other end of the line, we’re asking the public to support our appeal.”