Hundreds of cash-strapped Sunderland families could lose their homes

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UP to 230 residents in Sunderland are on the brink of losing their homes as rising unemployment and spending cuts continue to take their toll, according to new figures.

The statistics, published by the Ministry of Justice, show the number of homeowners and tenants currently at risk of repossession or eviction.

It follows recent research by housing charity Shelter, which revealed that growing numbers of people across the country are finding it difficult to keep a roof over their head, with 3.7 million admitting they face a constant struggle to pay their rent or mortgage.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “It’s a sign of the tough times we’re in that every two minutes someone faces losing their home. In Sunderland alone, 230 households are at risk.

“With millions across the country hanging on by a thread, now is the very worst time to take away the housing safety net that helps those who’ve lost their jobs, suffered an illness or had a sudden change in circumstances to keep a roof over their head.”

As part of its Save the Housing Safety Net drive, the charity is now calling on Wearsiders to sign a petition urging MPs to stop changes going through Parliament that will reduce protection for those whose homes are under threat.

The charity is warning that Government plans to cut mortgage and rent support for those who lose their jobs will take away a vital housing safety net currently keeping thousands of people in their homes.

It is also concerned by proposals which will mean councils no longer have a duty to provide secure and stable accommodation for those who slip through the net and end up as homeless.

Mr Robb said: “I hope people in Sunderland will sign our petition to urge the Government to think again about the impact of these changes.

“Otherwise, we could see a real increase in homelessness at the very time the Government is removing the security and stability homeless households need to get back on their feet.”

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot is a member of the Parliamentary committee that will be voting on proposals to remove the duty councils have to provide secure and stable accommodation for people who lose their homes.

To find out more about the campaign, visit www.shelter.org.uk/safetynet