The rise in the cost of living has been felt by nearly everyone in Britain but for people already struggling and on the verge of homelessness it can leave them to make nearly impossible decisions. Our resettlement team are now doing more prevention work with people at risk of homelessness who are struggling to afford the basics and keep a roof over their head.

We have been supporting David* for some time now and whilst he is in a much better place now than when he first came to us, he is still struggling. He has a debilitating joint condition which had slowly reduced his ability to work in the sectors he had worked in all his life, and he just couldn't see a way out of poverty and his precarious situation.

When we first met David he was living in a basement studio flat, it had one small window which was not double glazed. It was damp and always cold, even in the summer. And in the winter the heating was completely inadequate causing frost inside his home. His health condition was made worse by the cold slowling his recovery and affecting David’s goal of returning to work.

Struggling to make ends meet

With costs continuing to increase one of our resettlement workers recently completed a budget with David as he was often not able to afford food at the end of the month. It became apparent that he was left with only a little over £50 each month to spend on food after his rent and bills were paid. He, and the majority of our clients are on pre-pay electricity meters. Pre-pay meters have a weekly standing charge and are very expensive. It seems David was spending the majority of his money trying to keep warm in his cold, damp basement flat.

He is now waiting to hear if he is able to get any extra benefits due to his health conditions but this is taking time. He is therefore having to use food banks and use the little money he has to get the bus to his appointments and hospital. However there is no way he can currently afford a bus pass at £80 a month.  One of the ways that we're helping David is by paying for a bus pass to allow him to go to the hospital for his treatments and recovery. David has a strong desire to work,and we want to help him to achieve his goal of being healthy enough to work and support himself.

Hope for the future

We recently housed David in one of our new properties, this is a warm, dry and bright flat which will support his recovery, lower his heating costs and finally get him off a prepayment metre. Even with these interventions David will still be struggling but he is in a position now where he will no longer be expecting to be hungry each month and reliant on food banks for his survival.

We are delighted that we can support David out of his very poor housing, out of food and heating poverty and into accommodation where we hope his health will improve. David is so happy to be out of his basement flat and is hoping that he will be well enough to work someday soon.

*Name has been changed to protect our friend’s identity

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