Over 20% of people in Wales ‘less confident than six months ago about paying rent or mortgage’
Renters, single people and the “squeezed middle” generation are particularly likely to have lost confidence in recent months in their ability to cover their housing costs, a survey suggests.
The research was released as HSBC UK and housing charity Shelter announced a new partnership to support the financial health of people and communities during the cost-of-living crisis and “help break the vicious circle of homelessness”.
23% percent of people in Wales, the third highest in the UK, feel less confident than they did six months ago about being able to pay their rent or mortgage on time for the rest of the year.
The YouGov survey of more than 2,100 adults across the UK was commissioned to mark the new agreement between HSBC UK and Shelter.
The “squeezed middle” age group aged 35 to 54, who often have childcare responsibilities and may also be caring for elderly parents, were found to be the most likely to have lost confidence, with 28% feeling this way.
Single people who had never been married were also particularly likely to have lost confidence in their ability to pay for the roof over their head, with 25% saying this was the case, compared with 15% of people who were married or in a civil partnership.
Renters were also found to be particularly worried about making ends meet, with nearly two-thirds (65%) saying they often worry about how they are going to cover all costs, compared with 38% of homeowners.
Those living in rental accommodation were also more likely to have taken on additional debt than owners with a mortgage due to cost-of-living increases, at 31% versus 21%.
More than a third (36%) of renters feel the cost-of-living crisis is negatively affecting their mental health, as do around one in six (16%) of those who own their home.
Here are the proportions of people who feel less confident about paying their rent or mortgage on time for the rest of the year than they did six months ago, according to the YouGov survey:
– North East, 22%
– North West, 21%
– Yorkshire and the Humber, 21%
– East Midlands, 20%
– West Midlands, 14%
– East of England, 24%
– London, 26%
– South East, 20%
– South West, 16%
– Wales, 23%
– Scotland, 16%
– Northern Ireland, 23%
The partnership will help boost Shelter’s emergency helpline and webchat support. On average, more than 1,000 calls a day are made to Shelter’s emergency helpline.
According to the charity, eight in 10 callers to its emergency helpline are already homeless or at imminent risk of it. Through the partnership, Shelter will work with people with lived experience to develop digital guidance and tools to build people’s financial resilience.
The partnership will also help with HSBC UK staff training to deliver financial resilience advice.
Shelter will train more than 1,250 volunteers to deliver resilience training and signpost people to housing advice. This will help build financial resilience in local communities, reaching people in food banks and debt advice centres, for example.
Shelter’s charity partners Shelter Cymru and Housing Rights will ensure people and communities in Wales and Northern Ireland are also supported through the partnership.
The partnership will build on the work of HSBC UK’s “no fixed address” service, which has helped more than 4,600 people without a fixed home address to open a bank account and rebuild their lives after experiencing homelessness.
Ian Stuart, chief executive, HSBC UK said: “Our no fixed address service has been an important tool in breaking the vicious circle of homelessness, helping people access the financial services they need.
“But we know that if we’re to make an even bigger impact people need access to support before they get into severe issues with paying their rent or mortgage.
“Early intervention is critical; the faster we can be alerted to an issue the more can be done to help.
“Among our own customers we’ve seen this approach work, with 20% uplift in customers bringing their accounts back up to date in key areas such as mortgages when we work with them early enough.
“I’m really proud to launch this key partnership between HSBC UK and Shelter. Together, we will help more people access guidance and meaningful support – building greater resilience for some of the UK’s most vulnerable people, and better financial health for the UK.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter said: “Access to a safe and secure home means everything. It’s as vital as education or healthcare.
“But right now, a lack of genuinely affordable social homes, rapidly rising rents and ballooning bills is leaving hundreds of thousands of people at risk of homelessness.
“Every day our frontline services hear from people who are really struggling and don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent or put food on their table.”
She added: “Our ambition is to do more to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place. That’s why we’re thrilled to be deepening our partnership with HSBC UK so that we can reach more people at risk of losing their homes, and work with communities before they reach crisis point.”
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