One in three Brits ‘genuinely concerned about becoming homeless’
A major new national survey into attitudes towards homelessness has been unveiled today with findings suggesting many Brits are living with unprecedented fears of becoming homeless.
Commissioned by Howarth Housing Group, a provider of emergency, temporary and supported accommodation for the vulnerable and homeless in Greater Manchester, the Censuswide survey of 1,001 people revealed 42% of respondents frequently or sometimes worry about becoming homeless if their circumstances change suddenly. While over a third (35%) admit to being genuinely concerned about becoming homeless.
“These shocking statistics reveal a crisis, not just in housing, but in mental wellbeing and social stability,” said Benjamin Howarth, managing director at Howarth Housing Group. “It’s clear that many families are living with a heavy cloud over their lives, as they battle crippling fears of homelessness, and even a sense of helplessness.”
The survey also found that 36% of respondents have been forced to stay with friends or family temporarily, in between living in permanent accommodation, a stark indicator of the unseen reality of housing insecurity in the UK. Meanwhile, over a third (35%) admit to living in insecure housing situations, where they are not named on mortgages or rental agreements.
Benjamin added: “These aren’t just numbers; these are people’s lives and represent the indignity and uncertainty too many families in Britain today are facing when it comes to having a place to call home.”
Further findings reveal a major gap in public awareness, with 60% of respondents admitting to being unknowledgeable when it comes to accessing emergency housing, and 62% unaware of their legal rights if they become homeless.
“Despite the research showing an obvious fear of homelessness, almost two-thirds of respondents have admitted to lacking knowledge when it comes to emergency housing and legal rights; This tracks with exactly what we see in the emergency homeless sector, most people who present as homeless do so only once they are actually on the street with no knowledge that the local authority does have preventative measures and powers.
Additional findings include:
- Those aged 25-34 and those living in Greater London are most worried about becoming homeless, with 51% respectively, admitting to being ‘genuinely concerned’.
- Over a third of respondents (36%) do not have enough savings to cover their rent or mortgage for a period of three months
Benjamin concluded: “This research highlights two important things, Firstly, the very serious concerns the British public have around homelessness and the fragility of our living situations, and this should act as a catalyst for urgent action and change. Secondly, the figures currently being recorded and used to provide information to policy makers is grossly inaccurate. We must confront the fact that homelessness is not just an issue on our streets – it’s a lurking threat in our homes and communities.
“As a society, we must unite, not only to provide immediate support to those in need, but to also forge long-term, meaningful solutions that tackle the root causes of homelessness in Britain today. Only when we commit to change will we truly begin to emerge from the shadow of homelessness.”