Saturday, 30 August 2014

Debt charity warns of sofa surfing rise

People are having to sleep on friend’s sofas because they are unable to meet the costs of their own home, a charity has warned.

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service has said it is receiving calls to its helpline for the first time from people who have had to move in with friends so they can rent out their property.

Advisors say since the summer several people have called who are sleeping on the sofa of a friend or family member, and often they have had to rent out their own homes because they were struggling to pay the mortgage.

There are also people who have been evicted from rented accommodation or lost their home through repossession because of debt.

Laura Carver, head of helpline at CCCS, said: ‘Loss of home is often the greatest fear for those struggling with debt.

‘While only a small number of people with debt problems end up living on the streets, more are in effect rendered homeless because of rent or mortgage arrears.

‘Sleeping on a friend’s sofa is better than sleeping outside but it means that you still don’t have a home.’

The charity advises people in this situation to seek help with charities, such as Shelter, to help with accommodation issues.

The CCCS predicted this trend will continue as cuts to the public sector and benefit changes take effect.

It has already counselled 14,967 people with mortgage arrears and 6,820 people with rental arrears this year.

Readers' comments (15)

  • Sidney Webb

    I'm sure that some posters will have friends and relatives who sleep regularly on friends' sofas, so will say this is completely OK, normal, to be welcomed even as excluded from Shapps' definition of homelessness.

    One day these people will wake up to what is being taken away from us all - hopefully they will not find themselves on a sofa or under a bush when this occurs.

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  • ...and this will only get worse with the impending cuts and proposed benefit reforms. I can see a new category appearing on rentaroom for 'sofas to rent'. Perhaps we should start building tenements where mulitple households can be shoved in like cattle.

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  • Mr P

    I fell asleep on my sofa last night watching TV.

    It was alright.

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  • Oh Dear Mr P what a sad life you must lead. At least it is your sofa and more importantly your home!

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  • Mr P

    You're always welcome to come over and put your head down if the wife kicks you out anonymous.

    I'm sure you will find it more than comfortable.

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  • Thankyou for the kind offer Mr P but I cannot share your sofa as I want the state to provide me with my own flat!

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  • Sidney Webb

    And how did you know the anonymous gender Mr P - I smell a rat, and a poor sense of humour as homelessness is not funny, nor is your support for increasing the number of homeless whilst decreasing the opportunities to avoid or escape homelessness.
    All so predictable from people who obviously do not care about anyone but themselves and their own wallets.

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  • Chris

    There are too many 'P's on this thread, and most of them are being taken.

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  • I know for the most part that posters are largely being light hearted on here, but sofa surfing really isn't funny- reliant on friends who have no obligation to you, who may throw you out just because they are in a bad mood. It puts strain on friendships and takes it's toll on both parties. For many, sofa surfing has the potential to become street homelesness when they run out of sofas to surf. I doubt it would be well recieved by the housing officer visiting tenants.

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  • Melvin Bone

    'Christopher Webb | 17/11/2010 10:43 pm
    There are too many 'P's on this thread, and most of them are being taken.'

    Too many 'W's as well sometimes.

    In my experience some 'sofa surfers' DO have somewhere to live BUT have to say they 'sofa surf' so they do not have a detrimental effect on anyones benefit.

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