One in five people borrowed money to meet rent or mortgage payments in 2013, and many are taking on risky loans to keep their financial problems secret from friends and family, the housing charity Shelter has warned. A survey of more than 3,500 people found that 19% had used an unauthorised overdraft, loan, credit card, or borrowed money from someone they knew to pay their rent or mortgage in the previous 12 months. Of those questioned, 2%, or the equivalent of 1m people across the UK , had turned to a high-cost payday loan to fund housing costs. The figure for payday loans is consistent with the charity's findings for the past two years, but there were signs that the rising cost of living was putting more pressure on finances in 2013, with Shelter reporting that calls about rent and mortgage affordability problems were up by a third. The charity said it had helped 8,995 people with payment difficulties or arrears, compared to 6,797 in 2012, but it warned that for everyone it had helped, many more would be keeping their rent or mortgage problems hidden. Its survey showed that 25% of people would feel too ashamed to ask for help if they couldn't pay, while 40% wouldn't admit to family or friends if they were struggling with their housing costs . Katharine Whittaker , who has two children and lives near Barnsley , Yorkshire , said: "It's very difficult when it comes to making ends meet and paying for the roof over our heads. The rent takes at least half my wages. It's absolutely horrible trying to juggle the rent and other bills. "I've borrowed from family and I've had to ask the bank for an overdraft just to keep our heads above water. It's a constant worry thinking about finding extra money." Campbell Robb , chief executive of Shelter, said "sky-high housing costs", stagnating wages and the high cost of living have taken their toll around the UK . "We're now hearing from record numbers of families up and down the country who are desperately struggling to keep the roof over their heads. But the truth is, we're more worried about the people we don't see." Liz Clare , a helpline adviser for Shelter, added: "Times are tough, and we often hear from people who've reached crisis point, because they haven't felt able to ask for help earlier. Taking the first step to ask is difficult, but advice from an expert early on can make the difference between losing your home and keeping it."
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