Old age is no defence against the housing crisis, warns Shelter

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A quarter of private renters aged 65 and over are worried about becoming homeless, according to the charity Shelter.

As the housing crisis tightens its grip, sky high house prices have left thousands of older people “stuck” in expensive private renting, the charity says.

Official government figures show more than 8,000 people aged 65 or over became homeless or were threatened with homelessness in the last year. Currently 8% of privately rented homes are headed by someone aged 65 or over.

Shelter’s poll of 3,995 private renters found 67% of 55-64-year-old private renters say they won’t be able to pay rent on a suitable home when they retire without needing housing benefit.

Furthermore 48% of this group said the high cost of renting means that they won’t be able to afford to retire.

“We’re facing a ticking time bomb of older renters who won’t be able to afford their rent when they retire, which could result in thousands more having to rely on housing benefit just to get by,” said Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive.

“At worst, in the next decade we could see a generation of older renters at risk of homelessness as a result, causing untold unhappiness and disruption for thousands of older people.

“It almost goes without saying how hard homelessness is on older people, imagine spending your late 70s in a grim hostel room and sharing a bathroom with strangers, not knowing where you’ll be staying from one week to the next, when instead you should be enjoying your hard-earned retirement.

“People desperately need another option, and social housing is the solution. If any future government wants to save older renters from homelessness then it will need to commit to 3 million new social homes in the next 20 years, so no one has to face retirement without somewhere to call home.”

NH

 

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