A new YouGov survey of 2,000 working adults for Shelter suggests that 35 per cent of people do not have enough savings to cover their mortgage or rent for more than a month if they were suddenly made unemployed.
Indeed, 18 per cent would be unable to pay their rent or mortgage at all if they could not find a new job immediately.
Families with children are in a particularly worrying situation - 43 per cent say they could not pay for their home for more than a month and nearly a quarter could not meet payments at all.
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter said: "These figures paint an alarming picture of a nation where the buffer between having a home and potentially becoming homeless is a single paycheque. 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."