The plight of families trying to make ends meet in Hyndburn has been laid bare in two shocking new reports.
People in the borough are among the most at risk of falling into poverty or having their homes repossessed in the country, it has been revealed.
According to one survey, 30 per cent of homes in Hyndburn are in danger of slipping below the breadline – the second highest figure in the UK.
And a separate report by the charity Shelter has shown that the borough is the 21st worst in the country for repossessions with around 167 homes a year being reclaimed by the banks.
The damning reports come just weeks after the Observer highlighted that the high numbers of food parcels being handed out by the Maundy Relief charity, with organiser Dorothy McGregor saying that for many families in the borough life in 2012 is ‘worse than The Depression’.
The charity has now handed out more 700 parcels since the start of the year.
After hearing of the new reports, Dorothy said she believes the situation is even worse than she first thought.
She said: "The situation for many families is now dire and horrendous.
"It is part of the downward spiral because if you haven’t got a job then you haven’t got a home and it affects everything. It’s a domino effect.
"People don’t plan for the future. They think they have a good secure job but then they can lose it like that.
"It justifies what we are trying to say about the issue of poverty and adds ballast and evidence to that.'
Council leader Miles Parkinson blamed the figures on the borough low income levels and said more must be done to create jobs.
He said: "It's extremely worrying and without job creation we can only see a spiral down.
"Most people are only eight weeks away from serious debt and if you are out of work will struggle to pay your rent or mortgage."
Research carried out by financial experts Experian shows how 30 per cent of borough households are 'on a cliff edge' of falling into poverty.
The Breadline Britain report by Experian places Hyndburn second in the county out of 406 local authorities with only Torbay in Devon thought to have a higher percentage of families at risk of falling into poverty.
Bruno Rost, of Experian, said the list was measured using nearly 400 'social indicators' including people's finances, where they live, hobbies and education.
He said: "What we did was look at the sections of the population who are under the most financial stress in work and find it difficult to cope on their current incomes.
"We are not saying they are over the edge yet but they are on the cliff edge."
The report found that Hyndburn fared worst for low income families living in poor quality older terraces.
It found that nearly 19 per cent of the population fitted into this category, the next highest was Lincoln with 10.9 per cent.
Homeless charity Shelter also warned residents they face falling into a 'spiral of debt and repossession' after Hyndburn was named as one of the top ten repossession hotspots in the north west.
Shelter's 'Repossession Risk Hotspot' report places the borough ninth on the areas hot spot list and 21st nationally.
Figures show there were 5.59 homes repossessed for every thousand in the borough during 2011/2012.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said having a home repossessed is worse than having to fight a child custody battle.
He said: "Most people think that repossession will never happen to them, however rising unemployment, high living costs and high house prices mean that many people in the North West are living close to the edge already."
In previous Poverty in 2012 reports, the Observer has highlighted how families have been hit hard by economic hardship with Maundy Relief now in desperate need of supplies.
Last week we reported how more than 150 people die every year from smoking related deaths with people from poor backgrounds more at risk.
THE Observer is calling on shops and businesses to set up collections points to encourage shoppers to donate items of food for those less fortunate than themselves.
We want collection points to be a way to get the whole community rallying round to help and to take some of the tremendous pressure off the Accrington charity in providing food for those in need.
The names and locations of the businesses that house collection boxes points will be published in the paper so members of the public can drop off items.
We will also provide posters to help businesses advertise them.
If your business would like to house a collection box, contact the newsroom on 0161 211 2977 or email: email@example.com.