Essex: Families Face Losing Home

Nearly 200,000 households in England have been threatened with the prospect of losing their home over the past year, equating to a city the size of Liverpool or Bristol, a charity warned today (Friday December 14th).

The 10 hotspots where families are most at risk of repossession or eviction are all London boroughs, with Barking and Dagenham named by Shelter as the area where people are most likely to face losing their home.

The hotspots in Essex include Harlow, Basildon, Southend and Colchester.

One in every 87 homes in Harlow have been at risk of being repossessed while in Colchester it's one in every 122.

In Basildon it stands at one in 133 and in Southend it's one in 106.

The findings were taken from analysis of mortgage and landlord possession claims from the Ministry of Justice, covering October 2011 to September 2012.

These claims are the first step in a lender repossessing a home or a landlord evicting a tenant and not all of them lead to someone losing their house.

The bulk of the claims came from landlords seeking to evict tenants, Shelter said.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter said: "It's truly shocking how many people in this country are living with the threat of becoming homeless.

"In some areas, the risk of being evicted or repossessed is so high that one home in every street could be affected.

"This report is a stark reminder that homelessness can happen to anyone - all it takes is one event such as a redundancy or relationship break up, and whole families are at risk of losing their home.

"This year more than 75,000 children will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day.''

The research suggested a strong link between unemployment and repossession claims.

Housing Minister, and Bishop's Stortford MP, Mark Prisk said repossessions are at their lowest level since 2007.

"This Government's ongoing efforts to tackle the deficit inherited from the last administration are helping to avoid the rapid increases in interest rates which would put pressure on already stretched family budgets,'' he added.

"But we are not complacent, and help is available to anyone facing the prospect of repossession.''