Back in September, Church Homeless Trust took the unusual step of openly opposing the disastrous mini-budget. As a small, independent charity with no political affiliations, we do not generally campaign in this way. However, there was such a pressing danger to the people we support that we were moved to use some of our small advertising budget to call for action.
Since then, and due to the similar calls of so many, much of the mini-budget has been overturned, and we have a new Prime Minister
Unfortunately however, there are still far too many people living in poverty and uncertainty. As winter begins, a catastrophic number of people are worried about how they will possibly make ends meet in the months ahead. An even greater number worry about what will happen to them and their families come April, when much of the support around utility bills is due to be further reduced.
In recent weeks there has also been much talk of a coming recession. Some economists predict that this will be the longest recession on record, with the Bank of England predicting that times ahead will be “very challenging”. Although how deep this recession will be compared to previous recessions is currently a matter of contention, it is true that many more people are living in precarious situations and on the poverty line than they were prior to the 2008 crisis. It is therefore a very scary time for people who are poor, for people who do not have secure work, and for those who are at risk of homelessness.
From our end, we have seen a massive increase in the number of grant applications for gas and electricity, with many people being forced to choose between heating and eating. We have also seen a stark continuation of a trend that began during the pandemic; people you would not expect ending up homeless, or even rough sleeping.
Those with jobs and stable home lives finding themselves suddenly unable to afford their rent or to feed themselves in an ever shifting landscape.
So what can you do?
There are many ways you can keep making a difference as times get harder for so many. Over the winter months, many choose to volunteer at food banks or night shelters. Many such services are struggling this year as those who would ordinarily donate may be unable to afford to do so, and night shelters are struggling to pay their heating bills. Your help could make a big difference.
Another option is to hold a charity fundraiser. Throughout the year people run, swim and cycle in order to raise money for homeless individuals. At this time of year, some prefer to hold a raffle, a concert, or even host an Afternoon CHTea. Alternatively, you may wish to simply donate to a homeless charity like ourselves who will ensure that your support goes towards those who need it the most.
The option we ask all readers to do, regardless of their circumstances, is to keep those who are homeless or in danger of homelessness in their thoughts and prayers this Christmas. We also ask you to keep telling friends and families about their stories, so no one is forgotten this winter.