December 8 2013 Latest news:
Sukran Sahin, Senior Reporter
Thursday, June 28, 2012
More people are losing their homes due to repossessions in Barking and Dagenham than in any other local authority in England, according to a housing charity.
Shelter has drawn up a map of repossession hotspots where families are most at risk of losing their homes.
The risk of repossession in Barking and Dagenham is more than twice as high as the national average, according to the research.
In 2011/12, 415 families lost their homes in this borough, which equals a rate 8.44 possession claims per 1,000 private homes - the highest in England.
In comparison, the rate in Kensington and Chelsea is 1.3 per 1,000 homes, and the lowest rate in West Dorset, where only 1.06 possession claims were handled by the courts for every 1,000 private homes.
The charity found that there is a strong link between rising unemployment and repossession.
Although Barking and Dagenham has seen a slight drop in unemployment figures last month, 7,215 residents (6.3 per cent) were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) at the last count.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Most people think that repossession will never happen to them, but rising unemployment, rising living costs and high house prices mean that many people are living close to the edge already, and risk falling into a spiral of debt and repossession.
“The journey from being a homeowner to becoming homeless is frighteningly swift, with just one small thing like a wage cut, a health problem or a job loss meaning that a family can no longer meet their mortgage payments.”
Shelter’s Repossession Risk Hotspots was based on data for 2011/12 repossession claims in England.
Anyone seeking help with repossession claims can call Shelter’s free advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 or visit shelter.org.uk.