Working families going without food to keep their homes

Working families struggling to keep roofs over their heads.

Working families struggling to keep roofs over their heads.

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A shocking report has revealed that almost 40% of working families in the North East are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

The report from housing charity, Shelter, showed that in the last year almost 40% of working families in the region, equivalent to more than 150,000 families, cut back on buying essential food and clothing in a bid to help pay their rent or mortgage.

The Shelter and YouGov research revealed the tough choices that working parents in the region are making, with one in eight going to the extreme of skipping meals and one in five parents putting off buying their children new clothes or shoes to help cover their housing costs.

Findings shine a spotlight on the enormous pressure that housing costs are putting on family budgets. The research found that over half of working parents in the North East are already struggling to meet their rent or mortgage payments, leaving them vulnerable to any small change in income.

Sadly, according to the charity, these worrying figures come as little surprise when recent government statistics show that the average household in England spends 29% of their monthly income on housing costs, rising to a staggering 43% for private renters.

With an uncertain economic outlook and millions of families already struggling to make ends meet, Shelter is urging the new government to do all it can to protect and improve the welfare safety net that helps families who fall on hard times to stay in their home.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These figures are an acute reminder of the tough choices that working families in the North East are having to make to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

“Any one of us could hit a bump along life’s road, but with housing now taking up the lion’s share of people’s pay-packets, any drop in income can all too quickly leave families at risk of losing their home. At Shelter we speak to parents every day who live in constant fear that a cut in hours could tip them into homelessness.

“With thousands of working families in the region struggling and a period of economic uncertainty ahead, now is the time for the new government to both protect and improve our welfare safety net so that it can be there to support families who fall on hard times.”

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free, expert advice. Visit www.shelter.org.uk/advice or call the Shelter helpline on 0808 800 4444.