We all need a safe and secure home.
The past few months have been a difficult time for many of us, but they 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 your job – all these can leave people struggling to pay the rent. At least 1 in 8 renters are already behind on their rent because of coronavirus, with a further 23% expected to fall behind. In Southampton – a city with a higher proportion of private tenants – this means up to 9,000 households could be at risk. Losing your home is unimaginable at the best of times but even more so during the crisis.
With your help we can provide dedicated practical support to help anyone facing a housing crisis to stay in their own homes . We wish to recruit an additional paid member of staff as a specialist housing and debt adviser. 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 people in their homes - safe and settled.
With this additional dedicated adviser, we believe we will be able to support over 600 more tenants in Southampton to stay in their homes. Why? Because we'll be able to go that extra mile and provide practical, dedicated hands-on support every step of the way, acting as a personal champion to understand what rights and protection people are entitled to.
Dave’s story. 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 three months and fears eviction in a few weeks’ time. He can’t afford his electricity bill and is relying on the local food bank.
Our specialist housing adviser would be able to help Dave, and others like him, with dedicated, hands-on support every step of the way. They would help him to make a benefits application, speak to his landlord to negotiate paying off the rent arrears, and agree a repayment plan with the utility companies.
For Dave and others who find themselves in this worrying situation, having access to a Citizens Advice specialist housing 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.
Help us to keep Southampton's residents safe and settled in their own homes. Hundreds of tenants across Southampton are in a similar position to Dave. You can help them by supporting our campaign to fund this dedicated, specialist role. Thank you for whatever donation you can afford to give during these difficult times. Every pound will help us to help them.