More than eight million people are one payday away from not being able to pay for their mortgage or rent.
Shock new figures released by housing charity Shelter today reveal that one in three workers could not pay for their home for more than a month if they lost their job.
Even more alarmingly, 4.4m people - 18 per cent - said that if they lost their jobs this month and couldn’t get a new one right away, they wouldn’t be able to pay their rent or mortgage at all.
As the wave of harsh benefit cuts introduced by the current Coalition government kicks in, the squeeze on people’s budgets will mean saving will become ever harder.
That will mean a surge in demand from people at risk of becoming homeless, Shelter predicts.
Campbell Robb, the charity’s chief executive, said: “These figures paint an alarming picture of a nation where the buffer between having a home and potentially becoming homeless is a single pay check.
“The depth of the financial pressure and insecurity felt by people across the country means that millions are living on the edge of a crisis, only secure in their homes for a matter of weeks.
“At the same time, support for people who have lost their homes is being stripped away - it’s easy to see why every fifteen minutes, another family in England finds themselves homeless.”
The research shows that families with children are at most risk of losing their home. Some 43 per cent admit they could not pay for their home for more than a month, and nearly a quarter – 23 per cent - say they could not meet their payments at all.
Overall, 3.9m British families could be just one pay check away from losing the family home, Shelter warned.
That’s already happened to Peter in Kent. His wife and two children lost their home after both partners were made redundant within months of each other. After struggling for over a year, their home was eventually repossessed.
Peter said: “We knew there was no hope. We looked for help from the council and even tried renting the house out, but things spiralled out of control right away. There were debts secured against the house and there was no money coming in. My mental state wasn’t good. It was inevitable that we lost our home.”
More and more families are living on a financial edge with no financial safety net to help them, Mr Robb warned.
“More and more people are coming to Shelter desperate for advice on how they can stay in their homes, and our services are straining to meet the demand,” he revealed.
“Anyone who can’t meet the payments on their home should seek advice as a matter of urgency to help prevent them going through the devastation of losing their home.”