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Hundreds of thousands of parents in private rented housing have had to cut back on food to help pay their rent since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
More than one in seven – some 429,000 adults – made the admission during a YouGov poll for housing charity Shelter.
And nearly one in five – 458,000 adults – say they are more fearful than they were before the pandemic that their family will be made homeless.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, promised in March that “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home” and the government introduced an eviction ban in England and Wales.
But this will come to an end on August 24 and landlords will once again be able to begin eviction proceedings.
As HuffPost UK reported earlier this week, renters are still being served eviction notices despite the current ban.
The research conducted for Shelter published on Thursday also showed 49,000 parents who privately rent have had to resort to using food banks to survive.
Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said many families “feel like they’ve been sold down the river without a paddle”.
“Families are going hungry and taking on risky debt to pay private rent, and yet for too many even these sacrifices won’t be enough to avoid homelessness,” she said.
“These parents need a way out of living hand to mouth, but so far, the government has offered them no alternative to private renting. This must change if we are ever going to build this country back better.
“As rescue and recovery packages roll in, the government needs to prioritise building safe homes that everyone can afford.
“Cuts to stamp duty are not a solution when you’re struggling to keep a roof over your head, and terrified of becoming homeless at the hands of this crisis.”
Deborah, 54, a cleaning manager who lives with her daughter in Southport, said she was left with just £150 a month for food after paying rent and bills.
“I’m not asking for handouts, I’m just asking for a decent and affordable place to live. I worry about becoming homeless 24/7, day in, day out,” she said.