Almost a quarter of Brits could not pay the bills for even a month if they lost their income

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

man covering face with both hands while sitting on bench

According to research from northwest-based Howarth Housing Group, only 25 per cent of Brits could pay their rent or mortgage for more than three months if they were suddenly made unemployed and almost a quarter would not last one month.

More than 60 per cent would have no idea what to do or where to go for help if they found themselves homeless, and over 70 per cent said they would not feel safe if they had to rely on emergency accommodation. However, most were clear that to escape homelessness, those affected should get good advice, deal with mental health or addiction issues (over 50 per cent), and use temporary emergency housing (20 per cent). 

A surprising 25 per cent of those questioned had already experienced a housing crisis in the past, suggesting that, especially in these times of spiralling living costs, many more people could be facing this devastating situation than ever before.  

When it comes to the reasons behind homelessness, the top three root causes — according to those questioned ­— were sudden loss of income, drug or alcohol addiction and mental health problems. Over 60 per cent of the public assumes that homeless people are sleeping rough — on benches, in doorways, and so on, whereas this only accounts for five per cent of cases. Most people and families experiencing homelessness are staying in emergency housing provided by the local council via housing agencies or with friends and family.  

With so many at risk of experiencing a housing crisis, only about half of Brits thought they would be able to spot if a colleague was without a home. Signs such as having an untidy or unshaved appearance, wearing the same clothes for more than one day or showing signs of worry, anxiety and depression were the leading indicators for those who thought they might be able to spot a problem. Reassuringly, over 60 per cent would confide in their employer if they were in a housing crisis.  

Staff members and building Howarth Housing Group Oldham

Benjamin Howarth, founder and managing director of Howarth Housing Group and LIFELINE CIC, explains:  

“Often, the public perception of homelessness is that stereotypical image of a person sitting in the street or sleeping in a doorway. The truth is that most people in this devastating situation are families, people fleeing domestic violence, people in overcrowded housing and those dealing with long-term debts.  

“Over one-fifth of the UK could not pay their rent or mortgage for even one month if they suddenly became unemployed; that is over six million people who could feasibly become homeless very quickly. 

“We live in a time of spiralling inflation, soaring costs of the daily basics such as heating and food. Wages are stagnant, and housing is in short supply. This puts so many families in danger of losing their homes that it is becoming a scenario that could touch millions of Brits at any time.” 

“The most important thing to do if you are at risk of homelessness is to contact your local council’s Homelessness Prevention Team. As a result of the Homelessness Reduction Act, which was introduced in 2017, Local Authorities can help to prevent people from becoming homeless, not just provide housing after the fact. Getting good, timely advice is crucial.” 

Howarth Housing Group, headquartered in Oldham, is already operating 16 sites across the region, supporting individuals and families in getting back on their feet after experiencing homelessness.  

To find out more about Howarth Housing and the accommodation provisions it currently has on offer, visit https://howarthhousing.com/