Housing worries are overwhelming people in Britain, with one in 11 fearing they will not be able to keep a roof over their head by the end of this month, research reveals.

A Shelter/YouGov survey shows that rent or mortgage payers with children are most affected, with 70 per cent struggling or falling behind with payments, compared to 63 per cent without children.

While 9 per cent said they feared they wouldn’t be able to pay the rent or the mortgage this month, 38 per cent said they expected to struggle with housing costs in the new year.

Shelter said its poll of 4,000 British adults had shown people were not facing up to their money troubles and there was a ‘very real prospect of [families] losing their home this year’.

The housing charity warned of an ‘ostrich effect’ after 18 per cent of those surveyed said they would not open their post in case it was a bill or a later payment reminder and 14 per cent said they had put letters in the bin without opening them.

Liz Clare, a helpline adviser at Shelter, said: ‘We’re now seeing a stream of cases of families who’ve been unable to cope with mounting rent or mortgage bills and feel at breaking point. We all know how difficult it can be to face up to financial problems and we often hear from people who’ve been avoiding urgent post, but the reality is that not confronting it means things can spiral out of control.’

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘Despite recent discussion of an economic recovery, we know that a combination of high housing costs, wage freezes, and rising food and energy bills has created a nightmare scenario for many families that’s pushing them to breaking point.’

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