Rising numbers of over 60s facing homelessness

Rising numbers of older people are facing homelessness according to a national debt charity.

StepChange Debt Charity has seen a marked rise in the numbers of people aged 60 and over seeking its help with rent and mortgage arrears, while the amounts they owe are increasing too.

Large numbers of older people seek help from the charity with their debts each year, usually with high levels of debt on credit cards and overdrafts but lower levels of housing debt arrears. The charity says that this is changing and that last year 1,837 people aged 60 and over contacted it for help with mortgage and rent arrears, up from 1,084 in 2009.

The average rent arrears of those seeking help from the charity aged 60 and over is £825. This is up from £755 in 2009.

The average mortgage arrears of those seeking help from the charity aged 60 and over is £3,998. This is up from £3,563 in 2009.

As well as rising arrears, the charity is concerned about the numbers of older people seeking its help who still have mortgages. Last year, 4,317 people over the age of 60 who sought its help still had mortgages to repay, up from 2,958 in 2009.

Commenting on the figures, Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director at StepChange Debt Charity, said: “Struggling to keep a roof over your head is incredibly difficult and stressful at any age, but even more so as you get older. Nobody wants to be facing the prospect of facing homelessness in later life.

“It is crucial that anyone struggling to keep up mortgage or rent payments seeks help as soon as they realise that they have a problem because there is help available. The sooner they seek help the greater the chance that they will be able to stay in their home.”