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June 19, 2008

4 million families using plastic to pay mortgage/rent

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by Kay Mitchell

4 million families using plastic to pay mortgage/rent

A report from the homeless charity, Shelter, has revealed that in the last year, over 4 million families have paid their mortgage or rent on their credit card.

The report, called Breaking Point, reveals the extraordinary lengths some are going to during the current economic climate.

The report also established that one in six is worried about losing their home after defaulting on mortgage payments while almost 3 million families have had to borrow money from friends or family, or take out a personal loan, to pay the mortgage or the rent.

Furthermore, one in four families said they are suffering from stress or depression worrying about how they will meet their housing costs each month. 400,000 families admitted they had fallen behind with mortgage or rent payments.

Keeping a roof over their heads is becoming a serious struggle for many. Many said they stay awake at night worrying about money. One in ten has had to seek additional employment or work overtime, as their main job is not paying enough to keep them afloat.

Many families are reducing the amount they are spending on buying clothes for their children.

The findings of the report have been described as ‘stark’ by experts.

Adam Sampson, chief executive of Shelter, said the report shows just how difficult it is for everyday people to manage with escalating housing costs.

People are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure they pay their rent or mortgage. However, stress or depression can have a devastating affect on family life, added Mr Sampson.

Caroline Flint, Housing Minister, said action is being taken to support families who may be facing difficulty due to present market conditions. Ms Flint said £9 million has been invested to provide debt advice which includes free legal advice to all households at risk of repossession.


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