Number of homes at risk of repossession in Merton increases
An increasing number of people in Merton are at risk of losing their homes according to leading homeless charity Shelter.
Figures given to the Wimbledon Guardian show one in 79 households have had a possession claim issued against them between July 2012 and June 2013.
This is compared to one in 86 between October 2011 and September 2012 and places Merton in the top 20 per cent of areas in England with the highest number of at risk homes.
A possession claim is the start of a legal process which may end in repossession or eviction and is characterised as the proportion of households at risk of losing their home.
This figure applies not just to action by mortgage lenders but also by landlords in both the social and private sectors.
Marcus Bennett, from the Wimbledon Food Bank, said: "We have seen a rise in people using the food bank every month this year, with two and half tonnes of food given out in September.
"The rise in complaints about housing benefit in the last six months has also risen.
"About 40 per cent of people come because of benefit delays or changes which they did not know about.
"Debt, people fleeing their other half and unemployment are also causing people to be without a reserve for unexpected bills."
With gas prices rising this winter Mr Bennett advises people seek budgeting advice and help at such places as Wimbledon Guild.
Grenfell Housing and Training, based in Merton, work with vulnerable families across south west London.
Andrew Lorimer, from the charity, said: "We have seen a rise not only in numbers of people seeking assistance, but also in the complexity of challenges that individuals face.
"We have helped people who have lost their homes to secure alternative accommodation and to develop the practical skills and resilience that will reduce the risk of them becoming homeless again in the future."
Councillor Nick Draper, cabinet member for community and housing, said: "We make sure those people who come to us as homeless and in urgent need of change in accommodation get the accommodation they need.
"Merton’s housing needs team provide housing advice to all residents in the borough and work to ensure that homelessness is prevented wherever possible."
At the end of September 2013 Merton had 100 homeless households, which is the lowest number in London and in October there were about 7,100 households on the housing register.
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