Almost half a million people have turned to extortionate payday loans and doorstep lenders to cover the costs of mortgages and rent, according to the housing charity Shelter. And a further 6 million have used other types of credit, including credit cards and overdrafts to help pay their housing costs, the charity said.
Payday loans are unsecured loans of small sums, which are presented as a way for people to keep themselves afloat until their wage packet arrives.
But high interest charges mean that consumers often find themselves driven into deeper spirals of debt as they pay off their loans, and still need to find the money to live.
Shelter Chief executive Campbell Robb said: "These shocking findings show the extent to which millions of households across the country are desperately struggling to keep their home.
"Turning to short-term payday loans to help pay for the cost of housing is totally unsustainable. It can quickly lead to debts snowballing out of control and can lead to eviction or repossession and ultimately homelessness.
"Every two minutes someone in Britain faces the nightmare of losing their home. We urge every single one of these people now relying on credit to help pay their rent or mortgage to urgently seek advice."
Shelter was set up in England in 1966 by the radical and charismatic clergyman the Reverend Bruce Kenrick who was horrified by the state of housing in his Notting Hill parish. He in turn had been very influenced by a Christian project in America, called the East Harlem Protestant Parish.
The debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) runs a network of advice centres around the UK, and offers free help to anyone who finds themselves caught in a debt trap. It was founded by John Kirkby, who, inspired by his own experience of debt set out to help others who found themselves trapped.
January 4th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross