Message from Tim Fallon- SPEAR’s Chief Executive
“This year, both World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October) are taking place in the context of a cost of living crisis.
With millions of households across the country struggling to make ends meet and 125,000 in London alone at risk of homelessness, it is important to raise awareness of the issues and barriers faced by people experiencing homelessness.
Many reasons (such as poor mental health, unemployment, or a lack of support networks) can lead to homelessness, demonstrating that it is more than a housing issue.
Breaking the cycle of homelessness is not simple. Here at SPEAR, our approach is to address these wider needs as well as to provide accommodation. We know that support services designed to break the cycle of homelessness and address poor mental health are vital and that creating a home where people feel safe, and have space to focus on improving their wellbeing, takes time – but with the right support, lives can change.
In the past twelve months, we supported over 1,000 people, this year we are predicting this figure will rise.
We are already seeing an increased reliance on food banks amongst our clients. Increased anxiety and depression are also major concerns and we continue to work closely with external agencies that can offer support. Sadly, the current cost of living crisis will also threaten the progress of people who have managed to rebuild their lives away from the streets and into accommodation as they now struggle to pay their bills.
We are also concerned about the impact of the cost of living crisis on SPEAR. As energy prices rise, so does the cost of heating the accommodations we provide.
Even after the various measures that have been announced, we anticipate that our utility costs will be double those of last year – an extra £80,000 that we have not budgeted for.”