Financial crisis putting many on ‘knife-edge’

Hastings features in the top 10 in the south east for repossession claims
Hastings features in the top 10 in the south east for repossession claims

Homelessness charity Shelter has revealed that nearly 500 families in Hastings are at risk of losing their homes this Christmas, claiming that some are living on a ‘financial knife-edge.’

Recent analysis from Shelter ranks Hastings at number six in the top 10 of possession claims in the south east, with a total of 467 - one in 88 homes. Rother is lower down the list, ranked at number 49, with 195 possessions - one in 210 homes.

The charity’s report, released earlier this week, is based on the total number of possession claims issued in county courts between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. In the south east region the total possession claims amounted to a massive 24,961, that is one in every 142 households. The research, based on data recorded by the Ministry of Justice, found statistics to be equivalent to 162 people in the region being put at risk of eviction or repossession every day of the year.

The charity warns that sky-high housing costs are leaving more and more families teetering on a financial knife-edge. It says with little or no savings to fall back on, just one thing, like a sudden illness, can be all it takes to tip a family into a downward spiral towards losing their home.

Graphic designer Olcay, who lives in London, had her home repossessed after her husband lost his job.

She said: “My five-year-old daughter and I became homeless. My husband had lost his job and we were struggling. He didn’t open the letters from the mortgage lender and I only found out the extent of our financial problems by accident, just before we were evicted.

“I split from my husband and went with my daughter to ask for help at the council. We were placed in a B&B for several weeks, including over Christmas, which was really tough. The room was infested with lice and we had to share a kitchen and bathroom with several other families.

“Thankfully I then called Shelter which was able to help us to find a proper home, where we will be spending this Christmas.”