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26 September 2013, 05:45
A charity's warning changes to benefits could mean losing a job puts homes on a 'knife-edge' for families in Sunderland.
A study by homeless charity Shelter is warning that new rules being introduced in October risk leaving families in the position where losing their job is more likely to mean losing their home.
The charity's new analysis reveals that some families in the North East will need to find £75 or more each month as soon as they lose their jobs to have any hope of keeping up with their housing costs, and identified Sunderland as a hotspot of serious concern in the region, where the changes will bite hardest.
The research paints a picture of thousands of ordinary families who are already struggling to make ends meet, and where further cuts to the support that protects them from becoming homeless could make it increasingly hard for many to get back on their feet.
A YouGov poll commissioned by Shelter revealed that four in ten workers in the North East say they couldn't pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job.
The charity also found that across the country, six in ten working families are struggling or falling behind with their rent or mortgage.
As Universal Credit is rolled out in October, the help available to renters during the first three months after they lose their job will be dramatically reduced.