It comes as The Salvation Army urges the Government ahead of the budget announcement tomorrow to end the freeze on benefit payments, which they say are plunging more families into poverty every year.
The nationwide survey; which asked over two thousand people to give their opinions on rates of family poverty revealed that 45% believe that homelessness has increased in their community and a further 71% think there are more homeless people across the UK now than in 2012.
Significantly, only 1% of participants thought that the amount of families with financial difficulties had gone down in the same period and just 2% of participants felt that homelessness had decreased in their local community or town.
The general perceptions of those surveyed appear to be in step with the real situation for many households across the UK; as The Salvation Army and other charities notice an increasing demand for food banks and similar support for more and more families each year.
The results of the survey also chime with The Salvation Army’s worries about the damaging effect the roll out of Universal Credit could have on the most vulnerable people; by making it more difficult for many to access the financial support they so desperately need.
The church and charity has highlighted that the average six-week waiting lists for people to receive their Universal Credit payments has plunged more households into greater financial hardship and has called for the rollout to be paused while the Government fixes its bureaucratic procedures.
The Salvation Army’s director for community services, Tony Daniels said:
“Staff and volunteers at our churches and social centres across the UK have seen growing numbers of individuals and families on low incomes who are struggling to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads. So often the people they meet have been forced to come to The Salvation Army because they are waiting for their Universal Credit claims to be processed or they’ve seen their benefit payments reduced or frozen because of changes in the way it’s administered.
“This survey shows that the wider public are also aware of the problems that are all too obvious in their own communities and we are hopeful that Wednesday’s budget will take steps to ensure that welfare reforms don’t result in further financial hardship for the least well off households.”
The Salvation Army’s research into public perceptions of poverty, homelessness and isolation was conducted by the Opinium strategic insight agency.