Henry's Blog: The silent threat of losing your home
In my last blog I looked at why we think a debt time-bomb is about to go off. But many facing debt are also under threat of losing their homes.
When you get behind with payments because you’re struggling with debt, it’s credit card companies and banks that shout the loudest for you to pay them what you owe. But actually, these are what are called ‘non-priority’ debts and their bark is worse than their bite. Failing to keep on top of rent or mortgage payments has far more serious consequences.
According to poverty charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation, around 11% of all renters are worried about being evicted in the next three months, half of which are families with children. And 20% of all renters are worried about paying their rent over the same period. Around 8,800 families in REACH’s catchment area rent their homes. So on that basis, we could be looking at nearly 1000 families being under threat of eviction, and around 1700 worrying that they won’t be able to pay their rent. Around 75 families with mortgages are likely to be in arrears. We’re already seeing many families in rent or mortgage arrears – about 80% of our current debt clients are in this position.
NB. If you do find yourself unable to pay your rent or mortgage, it’s imperative that you get in touch with your landlord or mortgage provider as soon as possible. Don’t bury your head in the sand!
Another blow to renters is the 20% cut to Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) . At REACH we use DHPs regularly as a means of part paying rent arrears for clients which often opens the door to being able to negotiate with landlords and put a hold on evictions while we help clients get on top of debt.
The threat of eviction is a feeling like nothing else. It’s not just ‘eviction’ or losing our house. It’s your HOME! I once heard a former Archbishop of Canterbury say that we never call someone ‘houseless’ but ‘homeless’. As Dorothy said in that wonderful place called Oz said: “there’s no place like home!”
REACH helps to lift people out of the misery that comes with debt and hardship. Already, more and more families are coming to us for help – including those at risk of losing their homes. We want to do all we can to help free each and every family from debt, for good.
Will you help us to help them?
Click here to donate now and defuse a debt
If you already give a regular gift to REACH, we’re extremely grateful to you, as are the families that we support - read how you helped Richard avoid losing his home.
In my next blog, I’ll tell you more about how we plan to support many more families facing pandemic-related debt.