The results reveal the spiral of debt that people are falling into to keep a roof over their head.
One in seven respondents (15%) who took part said in its survey admitted they had used payday loans, unauthorised overdraft, other loan or credit cards to help pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months.
Shelter said this represented a national figure of almost seven million people, with almost one million people using payday loans.
The charity warned that the New Year could bring with it a risk of homelessness for those struggling with their housing costs and urged anyone worried about their debts to make seeking early debt advice their New Year’s resolution.
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: "These shocking findings show the extent to which millions of households across the country are desperately struggling to keep their home.
"Turning to short-term payday loans to help pay for the cost of housing is totally unsustainable. It can quickly lead to debts snowballing out of control and can lead to eviction or repossession and ultimately homelessness.
"Every two minutes someone in Britain faces the nightmare of losing their home. We urge every single one of these people now relying on credit to help pay their rent or mortgage to urgently seek advice."
Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "The UK is the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow for the world’s payday lenders. They’ve been regulated out of other countries and jump for joy at our lax supervision. That’s why these 4000% APR lenders are exploding across British high streets. Yet these astronomical APRs aren’t the real danger – that comes from the rollover. This is where people can’t repay at the end of the month and compound interest kicks in.
"It’s incredibly worrying there’s now evidence of people using payday loans to meet housing costs. Many struggling with core rent or mortgage commitments will struggle to repay payday loans on time too. While it’s an obvious temptation to grasp these loans as a lifeline, in the long run it may hurt more than help. Instead I’d urge anyone struggling with payday loan and housing debts to get in touch with one of the great non-profit, non-judgmental advisors out there, such as Shelter – the sooner the better."
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