Four out of 10 families with children have cut down on what they spend on food to help pay for their housing costs in the past year, says the housing and homlessness charity Shelter.
Shelter’s YouGov poll of 4,000 people also found that more than one in four (27 per cent) had cut back on gas and electricity bills to help meet their rent or mortgage costs.
Across the population as a whole, a third of people (31 per cent) had cut back on food and one in five (20 per cent) had reduced their spend on household fuel.
The research also found that 57 per cent of adults, and 64 per cent of families with children, struggled to pay their rent or mortgage last year.
As the cost of living continues to rise and the next wave of government cuts hit this April, Shelter says it is concerned that even more people will struggle to pay their housing costs.
The charity cites the situation of Teri, who, is registered disabled and a single mother with a15 year old daughter. She said: "I struggle to pay the rent and once I find the money for that there is little left each week to feed, clothe and provide basic essentials for me or my daughter.
"I try and plan meals that will make food go further and go online to see who has the cheapest prices. I feel totally exhausted with worry about paying the rent and the weekly food shop."
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive, said: "These startling figures show the daily heartache millions of parents are going through as they face the choice between putting food on the table and paying for the roof over their head.
"The effects of the recession, the rising cost of housing and cuts to the housing safety net have left many families in a very vulnerable position. Every fifteen minutes a family in England finds themselves homeless."
The government's own figures show that the lowest 10 per cent of households by income will be £200 worse off than in 2011-2011 when further benefit cuts come into effect this April.
These include the 'bedroom tax' or 'under-occupancy' sanction, the housing benefit cap, cuts to council tax benefit and the freezing of both the basic element of the working tax credit and child tax credit.
"We’ve seen more and more people coming to us for help in the last six months." said Campbell Robb.
He concluded: "For thousands of people already desperately battling to keep their home, further benefit changes next month could be the final blow."