“There are times when I feel like I’m at breaking point,“ Zara*, a mother-of-two facing eviction when the government lifts its ban on evictions in England and Wales this weekend, tells The Independent. ”I’ve an eight-year-old and a 16-year-old – I haven’t instructed my daughter the full actuality of the state of affairs as a result of I do know it will make her fear. As a mother or father you wish to defend your kids from stress of dropping their house. We live in worry.”
Zara is one of a whole bunch of 1000’s of women who’ve misplaced their jobs in consequence of the pandemic. She used to work for the native council facilitating parenting programs, however and not using a actual contract in place, and has been unable to return to work. A report by the University of Exeter discovered women are nearly twice as probably as males to have misplaced their job throughout the pandemic – with seven per cent of women made redundant throughout the lockdown in comparability to 4 per cent of males.
“Women are always hardest hit – with the burden falling particularly hard on single mothers,” the 42-year-old says. “A lot of the time, their jobs are quite precarious.
”We are dealing with a troubling cocktail of points – issues which they’ve at all times confronted however the pandemic has uncovered the drawback and made it worse.
“Women are bearing the brunt as a result of they’re extra more likely to take care of their kids. Childcare is basically costly right here. This has already prevented me from getting work, so I’ve needed to search for casual work, however coronavirus had made childcare even tougher to get maintain of. The financial system was geared towards women and renters earlier than coronavirus. Now the authorities is betraying these most harm by the recession by letting the eviction ban lapse.”
Zara, who’s a member of the London Renters Union, mentioned a disproportionate quantity of the individuals who have not too long ago approached them for assist are women.
The former council employee, who mentioned she was very involved about her kids’s psychological well being, mentioned she was not eligible to obtain furlough funds from the authorities or reap the advantages of its self-employment help scheme. Her husband owns a small enterprise which has not obtained authorities help regardless of struggling to make ends meet throughout the coronavirus disaster, she added.
She mentioned she had bought in contact along with her landlord to elucidate she and her husband try exhausting to acquire a mortgage however the landlord has not responded.
Frontline service suppliers instructed The Independent women are disproportionately dealing with homelessness due to being hardest hit as the government lifts its ban on evictions in England and Wales this weekend.
Charities said women are more likely to have fallen into rent arrears than men as they are more likely to have lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of Women’s Budget Group, a network of leading academic researchers and policy experts which analyses government policy from a gender perspective, told The Independent: “In previous recessions, men have been more likely to lose their jobs while women have been hit harder by cuts to public services. This recession is likely to be different. Most of the sectors that have been hardest hit by the crisis and are most vulnerable in the recession, such as retail, hospitality and the care sector employ a majority of female staff.
“Closures in the childcare sector means that women who rely on childcare in order to do paid work will struggle to get back to the workplace and may have to cut their hours if they go back at all. As women’s employment and earnings are set to decrease the lifting of the eviction ban is likely to have a particular impact on women.
“Our research has shown that pre-Covid housing was unaffordable for women in every English region with average rents taking up 43 per cent of women’s median earnings and 28 per cent of men’s. Women who were already struggling to pay rent are now likely to be at the forefront of eviction notices.”
MPs and charities have urged the government to urgently extend the ban on evictions to ensure renters who have lost their jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency and unprecedented economic downturn are not kicked out of their homes during autumn and winter.
The ban was due to come to an end on 23 August but was extended by four weeks until this Sunday due to fierce criticism levied at the government – with courts able to begin eviction hearings from Monday.
Joe Levenson, of Young Women’s Trust, a charity which supports young women on low or no pay, told The Independent women could bear the brunt of the oncoming wave of eviction notices when the ban ends.
He said: “Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, young women, especially those struggling to live on low or no pay, were too often ignored, undervalued and underpaid. Despite women taking on countless extra hours of childcare, an increased chance of job losses and hit to their mental health, we have seen a total lack of a gendered response from the government to this crisis.
“From a young age, women are pushed into certain types of work like admin, retail, hospitality and the beauty industry. These are the very sectors that are taking the hit as we try to economically recover from coronavirus. We need to see a commitment from the government to ensure that their ‘Build Build Build’ agenda means investing in social infrastructure as much as physical. And that new jobs and opportunities don’t just mean more jobs for the boys.
“But the government must also make employers immediately publish their redundancy and job loss data by sex, ethnicity and disability so we can see and address the true impact on women and minorities, especially as the furlough scheme ends in October.”
Shelter, a leading housing charity, states that 322,000 private renters have fallen into arrears since the public health crisis began, while 174,000 were threatened with eviction by landlords or letting agents. Citizens’ Advice has found an estimated four million have fallen behind on rent, council tax or a telecoms bill.
While the District Councils’ Network has warned nearly half a million – who spend over half of their income forking out on rent – could be at risk of eviction when the eviction ban ends.
This includes 108,000 lone parents with children and a further 100,000 who are aged between 16 and 24. Some 90 per cent of single parents are women.
The present court system stipulates anyone who accumulates rent arrears of eight weeks or more can be automatically evicted, on top of the risk of being subjected to a section 21 “no-fault” eviction, which enables landlords to repossess properties at short notice without providing a reason.
During the Covid-19 emergency, no legal evictions have been allowed but landlords have nevertheless been permitted to serve notices. The Scottish government recently indicated plans to expand a similar eviction ban until spring 2021.
*Zara’s name has been changed to protect her identity