The cost of living crisis: how we are supporting our members
In this blog, we will share how Crisis is committed to supporting people at risk of or experiencing homeless during the cost of living crisis.
The current cost of living crisis will affect us all, but the impact will be disproportionately felt by those who are already struggling to make ends meet. For thousands of people across the country, the risk of being forced into homelessness because of not being able to keep up with a spiralling cost of living is a terrifying reality.
What does cost of living crisis mean for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness?
It is impossible to deal with a rising cost of living when you are already struggling to find a secure and stable place to live. Crisis research published in March 2022 showed that families on the breadline are facing an average £372 deficit between their Local Housing Allowance and the cost of the cheapest rents in their local areas.
This current crisis combined with existing problems such as low wages, rising rents and a lack of affordable housing has created a perfect storm for people who were already struggling.
With little to no social housing to go around, more and more people are living in the private rented sector paying record high rents which is eating up over 30% of their income. All these factors increase the risk of someone being forced into homelessness when faced with rising costs of household bills and necessities.
With inflation set to peak in winter 2022 and the energy price cap due to rise yet again in the Autumn, the situation looks desperate, with no end in sight.
The support package announced in the May budget was aimed at helping those on low incomes, but the cost of living crisis will continue piling on an extra financial burden for many people. As a society, we can and must do more to ensure that this crisis does not lead to people losing their homes because they cannot afford to pay their bills.
“With cost-of-living pressures likely to become unbearable for thousands of households and rents continuing to rise at pace, the challenge is sustaining progress and continuing to reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough. The Government must urgently turn its attention to ensuring we have enough genuinely affordable homes if it is to keep its promise.” - Matt Downie, Chief Executive at Crisis
What Crisis is doing
Over the difficult months ahead, we will be supporting people at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis, including those who might be facing the terrifying prospect of becoming homelessness for the very first time.
Our services operate out of our 11 Skylight centres across the UK, where we work with thousands of people who are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness every year. Although our services are already seeing an increased demand from people who need our help, we will continue to be there for everyone that needs us.
Our frontline teams are working flat out trying to find affordable places for our members to live in a situation where rising rents and shortfalls in housing benefit, along with landlords being less willing to rent properties with bills included, are preventing people from finding a secure home that they can afford. Our specialist teams will keep working to negotiate more affordable rents on behalf of members, and we will offer financial support to cover deposits and pay rent in advance if needed.
We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members to ensure that they have access to a proper home they can afford. Our dedicated welfare advisors will be providing expert advice on member’s benefits so that they can access support available to them, including financial support such as emergency funding from local councils and loans and grants provided by Crisis. This includes our Housing Access Fund, which provides members with a stipend that they can use to purchase household items needed for their new home.
We will be working closely with food banks across all our services, making as many referrals as possible so that people are not going without essentials they can no longer afford. We will also be taking on more referrals from food banks to our services for people in need of housing support.
How you can help
As an independent charity, we receive almost no government funding. The generosity of our supporters, including our corporate partners and philanthropy supporters, is what allows us to continue to be there for everyone that needs us, and it is especially important during these tough times.
Your support allows us to deliver a range of our front line Skylight services that support people experiencing homelessness. This includes our engagement and assessment teams, the first port of call for people approaching crisis for the first time, and our lead workers, who work side-by-side with our members, helping them with everything from jobs to supporting them into secure housing.
In this video, Jake explains how Crisis supported him to get his life back on track.
To find out more ways about how you can help support our front line work during the cost of living crisis, speak to your Crisis contact or email the Philanthropy team.