SOUTH Holland is experiencing a rising tide of “hidden homelessness” as people pay the price for the ongoing financial crisis.
It is feared scores of people could be sleeping in their cars parked up in laybys and at roadsides after losing their homes.
South Holland Citizens’ Advice Bureau said it has seen the problem spiralling since the beginning of the year as the recession has a ripple effect on families.
Manager John Willoughby said: “There is definitely a growing problem of homelessness, but it is a hidden problem – we are not seeing lots more people sleeping in cardboard boxes in the streets.
“As the second round of cuts come into effect more people are losing their homes, either because they can’t afford to pay for them or because of family breakdown.
“When times are hard like they are at the moment it has a ripple effect and we see a large increase in the number of people seeking help because of family breakdown.
“People are forced to leave the family home but they can’t afford to get anywhere else to live so they end up sleeping in their cars.”
Mr Willoughby said the problem comes on the back of a growing number of Spalding families facing mounting debt as they struggle to make ends meet.
In the last quarter of the 2011/12 financial year, from January to March, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau saw a 25 per cent increase in the number of people seeking help with debt compared to the previous quarter.
Mr Willoughby said: “There are still a lot of people who are being made redundant, but it tends to be small companies who are cutting back rather than big firms making hundreds redundant so they are not hitting the headlines.
“Generally speaking the effects of the recession were not felt straight away – in the third quarter of the year we saw a reduction in the number of people seeking our help.
“The effects are only now really beginning to bite”
He urged anyone facing problems to contact South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau, now based at South Holland District Council offices, Priory Road, Spalding, on 01775 717444.