“THE COST OF LIVING IS A HUGE MENTAL TRIGGER AND HUGE MENTAL STRAIN. NOT JUST FOR A
FEW CLIENTS, THIS IS ACROSS THE BOARD.”
“ASKING FOR HELP WAS DIFFICULT, BUT BEING HOMELESS WAS SUCH A SHOCK THAT I HAD NO
CHOICE. WITHOUT SPEAR, I CANNOT IMAGINE WHERE I WOULD BE NOW”
The cost of living is at the front of everyone’s mind, and our clients are no different.
For clients with a history of trauma this is a time of huge mental strain and anxiety. Many clients now in accommodation have experience of losing their homes in the past, and with the ever rising costs many are anxious that this might happen again.
Here at SPEAR we are doing all we can to provide support. One of the ways we do this is at our Health and Wellbeing days.
We’ve learned that the majority of people who attend are looking for support with their mental health. Feelings of isolation are becoming an increasingly common issue, especially as many clients haven’t got the funds to socialise, travel or even top up their phones. The latter is also making it diffcult for us to contact them with help, advice or a reassuring chat. Alongside the physical and mental health support, our Health and Wellbeing days are also an opportunity for people to get a haircut, a hot meal, toiletries and clothes.
“The revolving door of homelessness is a real possibility for some.”
Please help SPEAR to provide vital support during this cost of living crisis.
She’s just rebuilt her life.
Now it’s all at risk again.
Jane experienced homelessness from a young age when, at 16, she was asked to leave her family home. Sofa surfing, she supported herself with temporary jobs.
“Moving from friend to friend I had no space to call my own, no place to call home and never any idea how long I could stay”.
At just 22 years old when lockdown was announced Jane lost her job and found herself living on the streets for the first time.
“No place to live, no money and no place to go. I know it seems a lifetime ago, but if you can remember that first week of lockdown, all you could hear was ‘Stay at Home to Save Lives’. Well, how could I? That really was my lowest moment”.
That’s when Jane met our outreach team and was housed in emergency accommodation during the ‘Everyone In’ initiative.
“What some call an Outreach Shift, I call a lifesaver.
It wasn’t too long before they (SPEAR) found me somewhere more stable to live, but that wasn’t the end. They kept working with me, giving me cooking lessons, helping me look for jobs, and even music workshops. It was so good to do something for fun – to be treated as a person, with my own hobbies, hopes and ambitions. They’ve now given me a laptop and are starting me on online courses. After years of barely getting by, I now have something I thought I’d lost – hope and a future. SPEAR have given me back my dignity”.
With the cost of living crisis disproportionately affecting the poorest in our communities, at SPEAR we are incredibly grateful for the donations we receive. At a time we know is becoming increasingly difficult for us all, any amount that you can afford to give is very much appreciated and will make a real difference to the lives of those we support.
Just some of the ways we are supporting our clients:
- Checking energy tariffs
(most of the energy suppliers offer a discounted tariff for people claiming
- Providing information about welfare grants and discounts available
- Help with budget plans
- Help to furnish their homes
- Advice on benefit claims
- Support finding work
- Topping up oyster cards and mobiles
- Signposting to food banks and providing emergency food parcels
- Providing information on how to get online and how to access free or cheap Wi-Fi
The cost of living crisis is threatening the progress of people like Jane, who have worked hard to rebuild their lives.
With rising rents, energy and food costs, people all over London are at risk of being pushed into homelessness, many for the first time, as they struggle to make ends meet. Across South West London where SPEAR delivers services we’ve seen a rise in almost every borough – and across all our boroughs we’ve noticed a high number of people experiencing homelessness for the very first time.
* Figures from the Greater London Authority (GLA) comparing 2022/23 with the previous year.
The cost of living crisis is increasing the risk of homelessness and threatening people’s progress towards independence. People who have worked hard to rebuild their lives are now struggling more than ever to pay for their accommodation, bills and everyday essentials.
Sarai Knight, SPEAR Resettlement Team Leader, says that she’s seeing more clients relying on foodbanks as their main source of food, not just supplementing them and has been issuing a lot of food vouchers to people who haven’t needed them before.
HOW YOUR MONEY HELPS:
” Thank you to SPEAR supporters.
I know from talking to SPEAR, this has been the busiest year they’ve ever had. They’ve not only helped me but they supported more people than ever.
You really changed my life by supporting SPEAR. “
Jane, SPEAR Client