The Impact of the Cost of Living Crisis
The Cost of Living crisis has pushed many people into energy, food and housing insecurity. For those living on the poverty line, homelessness can be just one unexpected expense away for those living on the poverty line.
Of all, young people are the most vulnerable group.
In Bristol, people are made vulnerable to homelessness through a variety of factors, including facing the highest private rental costs outside of London. Someone under the age of 25 also faces lower entitlements to Universal Credit and higher chances of having a zero hours contract. This means their incomes are lowest and are highly unpredictable.
Consequently, young people are disproportionately affected when facing the same costs of living as the rest of the population. This can leave them unable to afford food, energy and rent at a crucial point in their development.
Here at 1625 Independent People, we provide young people with free financial support to build a young person’s skills ensuring they can tackle the cost of living crisis, lift themselves out of homelessness and continue to thrive.
Our Cash Pointers toolkit provides both practical financial support and a restorative relationship at a crucial developmental stage in young people’s lives.
Our financial support reaches three different groups of young people:
- Young people who are still homeless or to establish bank accounts, accessing benefits etc.
- Those living independently for the first time. Providing support with paying bills, finding cheaper utility companies, council tax, budgeting ect.
- Those maintaining a tenancy. Supporting with rent or council tax arrears, debt advice, utilities bills, phone contract, managing the costs of having children ect.
Through our support 1625 has seen up to 72% of young people in our services improve their financial circumstances and have built confidence in money management.
After having to use his Universal Credit on food shopping, Fred went into an unauthorized overdraft. Consequently, Fred’s employment and support allowance was used up by his bank charges.
Fred struggled to cope with the stress, resulting in low mood which also triggered physical health problems. He entered what he called a period of ‘self-sabotage’.
He felt too overwhelmed to go to the shops and briefly left Bristol. After receiving a call about the money he still owed to the bank and the service provider, he realised something needed to change. He contacted his 1625 Housing Officer, explaining his situation.
Fred agreed to meet with an adviser. They discussed bank accounts, unauthorised overdrafts and how to avoid bank charges.
After exploring his options, they agreed to contact his bank together. They also role-played talking to the bank to prepare Fred. Fred felt nervous about speaking on the telephone, so they used online chat. After the online chat, Fred said he felt more confident and could contact his bank on his own in future.
Fred’s bank agreed to refund charges totalling £180 as a goodwill gesture. They gave Fred lots of information on preventative measures that he can put in place to avoid this happening again. Fred reactivated alerts for his account and started checking his bank statements more regularly. Critically he started paying his rent again and spoke to his internet provider to negotiate an affordable debt repayment plan.
If you would like to read more about our services and how they support young people across Bristol, Bath and the South West, you can see our impact report here.