Citizens Advice Southampton has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help people across the city at risk of eviction and homelessness because of the coronavirus crisis. The past few months have been particularly challenging for people who are renting their homes. Giving up work to care for a loved one, being furloughed, a reduction in hours or losing a job – all these can leave people struggling to pay the rent, through no fault of their own.
At least one in eight renters are already behind on their rent because of coronavirus, with a further 23 percent expected to fall behind. In Southampton – a city with a high proportion of private tenants – this means up to 9,000 households could be at risk. Losing your home is unimaginable for many at the best of times but even more so during the crisis.
Citizens Advice Southampton is fundraising to provide a specialist housing and debt adviser to help more Southampton families and individuals stay in their homes. They will act as a dedicated, personal champion giving advice and hands-on practical support to help people negotiate with their landlord, increase their income, understand their options and take control and so much more. This dedicated support could be the difference that keeps a family in their home.
Dave (not his real name) is renting his home. He was made redundant due to the coronavirus crisis. He’s struggling. He’s been unable to pay his rent for the last four months and fears eviction in a few weeks’ time. He can’t afford his electricity bill and is relying on the local food bank. A Citizens Advice specialist housing and debt adviser would be able to help Dave, and others like him, with dedicated hands-on support every step of the way. This could include helping him to make a benefits application, speaking to his landlord to negotiate paying off the rent, and agreeing a repayment plan with the utility companies.
For Dave and others who find themselves in this worrying situation, having access to a specialist housing and debt adviser at such a difficult time would make all the difference. It would help them regain control, take the pressure off and enable them to get back on their feet. It could even help keep families together.
Families facing a housing crisis
Liz Donegan, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Southampton, said: “At Citizens Advice Southampton, we’re worried. We’re already seeing a sharp increase in people asking for help with housing issues and housing-related debt – since the start of the crisis, we’ve helped almost 600 people with housing problems.
“We know that this problem will become far worse as landlords start to serve eviction proceedings on people who’ve been unable to pay their rent because of the crisis. Your support to help fund a specialist advisor role will make a difference in keeping families in their homes.
”Hundreds of individuals and families are in a similar position to Dave. Thank you for whatever donation you can afford to give during these difficult times. Every pound helps us reach our target and will make a real difference to a Southampton family facing a housing crisis.”
Visit Citizens Advice Southampton’s fundraising page: https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/safe-settled-in-southampton
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