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Almost one in five renters says they would have to sleep on the streets for the first night if they were evicted
Nearly one in five renters (19%) say they would have to sleep on the streets for the first night if they had to leave their home within the next month, according to a new ComRes poll commissioned by homelessness charity St Mungo’s.
The poll asked people what they would do if they were evicted from their home within a month The poll also found:
• Two in five people (41%) would be extremely or very concerned about being able to pay their rent or mortgage over the next three months if the main breadwinner in their household lost their job tomorrow.
• Three in ten people (29%) say that they would not be able to find alternative accommodation if they had to leave their home within a month. This rises to 42% among all people who rent.
• Two in five (40%) disagree that would have the financial means to find alternative accommodation, while the same proportion (40%) say that they would have to turn to a local authority for temporary accommodation.
• If they were forced to leave their home, 28% of people would not know where to turn for help. This rises to 35% among those aged 18-24.
• Almost one in three women (30%) would not be able to find alternative accommodation within a month if they had to leave their home within a month.
• One in ten people (11%) overall say they would have to consider sleeping on the streets for the first night if they had to leave their home within a month.
• Despite this however, seven in ten (71%) say that they would be able to turn to family or friends for temporary accommodation.
Some of these statistics are reflected in St Mungo’s own research on eviction-related causes of homelessness. A new briefing “Eviction, where next?” draws on peer research conducted by St Mungo’s clients with people who have experienced eviction. They found that 14 of the 15 people they interviewed ending up sleeping rough after being evicted. More than a quarter (27%) of St Mungo’s 1,700 residents became homeless due to being evicted.
The Briefing’s recommendations are:
1. Eviction should be seen as a last resort by councils, housing associations and private landlords
2. In respect of the Government’s implementation of Universal Credit, tenants receiving housing benefit directly and who may struggle to budget appropriately must be provided with appropriate support and exceptions
3. Panels should be established to assess the support needs of those evicted by a court
4. More investment is needed in emergency hostel beds for people with nowhere else to go.
5. More services are needed to help vulnerable people successfully sustain tenancies, such as St Mungo’s Peer Advice Link service
Tanya English, St Mungo’s Executive Director of Communications, said: “Being evicted from home causes homelessness for one in four of our clients. This poll shows how many people worry about the same thing happening to them.
“Many people are understandably very worried about where they would go if they were forced to leave their home at short notice. While some can turn to family or friends, others would look to their local council for help. However, not everyone will be eligible for assistance from their local council.
"We need to break the link between being evicted and ending up on the streets. With so many people worried about the prospect of homelessness, being evicted from your home must be the absolutely last resort.”
Notes to editors
• Available for interview are: Tanya English, or another St Mungo’s representative; a St Mungo’s client with experience of homelessness caused by eviction; and a frontline staff member working with people who are homeless in the PAL project.
• ComRes interviewed 2,022 British adults online between 31 October and 1 November 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
• St Mungo’s Peer Advice Link (PAL) supports people with an experience of homelessness to live independently. It is delivered by volunteers who have themselves experienced homelessness. Since the service started in 2010, the service has helped more than xxx while also helping PAL volunteers into jobs. 45%of all PAL volunteers have moved into paid employment, many for the first time. Over 80 per cent of those who were PAL volunteers in 2011/12 are currently volunteering or in paid employment.