Families 'teetering on a cliff edge' as 18,000 children at risk of being evicted in the region

More than 9,000 families in the East of England who rent their homes were served with eviction notices or were behind with rent last month, new figures show.

They come as the charity Shelter estimates that over 18,000 children living in privately rented homes in the region are at risk of being evicted this winter.

According to the latest government figures, 7,000 children are already homeless in the East of England, and many of them will be spending Christmas Day with their families in poor emergency hostels and run-down B&Bs. 

The charity has now launched an urgent appeal as it says thousands of families are "teetering on a cliff edge".

With the end of the eviction ban which had been imposed early in the pandemic, and the £65m fund for rent arrears not enough to reach everyone struggling, the charity is concerned even more eviction notices will start rolling in as living costs rise and debts mount for many.

In the East of England:

  • One in five renting parents (20%) say their children know they are struggling to pay rent.

  • One in 10 (12%) say their children worry about becoming homeless.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “No child should have to worry about losing their home this Christmas, let alone 18,000.

"But so many families in the East of England will spend every day with the threat of eviction looming over them, not knowing if they will still have a home next year."

The Government says tackling homelessness is an "absolute priority" and added it has committed more than £2 billion in funding over the next three years.

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "That is why we are spending £316 million on this in the next year to build on the success of the Homelessness Reduction Act, which has prevented 400,000 households from becoming homeless or supported them to settled accommodation.

 “Our action throughout the pandemic helped keep people in their homes and the vast majority of tenants are up to date with their rent. We’re also helping the most vulnerable renters in arrears through a £65 million support package.”