Shelter, the housing and homeless charity has recently reported a sixty per cent rise in families struggling with rent or mortgage payments throughout the UK. These results show that a large number of people are spiralling into debt. With recent government cutbacks and high unemployment figures people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. This is a particularly worrying issue locally throughout Dagenham and Rainham with the level of homelessness and repossession on the rise. Unfortunately the situation is looking to worsen before it improves with the Tory-led government's proposed benefits cuts come into effect in April.

Due to the high volume of struggling families, there has been an increase in payday loan companies appearing on the high streets. Shelters statistics highlight that almost a million people have turned to such companies to help pay for their housing in the past twelve months.

To help support individuals and families facing such worries Shelter offer free, independent advice and information on housing to help understand your rights and options. The interactive service helps locate relevant services near you with a simple to use post code check tool. The website also offers detailed advice on a range of issues such as homelessness, help with housing costs, money and arrears and repossession.

For a full list of services and to access the free advice and information visit:

You can also contact Shelter directly via their helpline: 0808 800 4444

For many in Dagenham and Rainham the New Year will bring further challenges, Jon Cruddas MP is urging anyone worried about paying their rent or mortgage to make seeking early housing advice a priority.