We’ve all been feeling the pinch lately as the cost of living increases. Energy bills have risen by as much as 54%, whilst inflation is at a record breaking 30 year high, and still going up.

We know this is going to have a huge impact on all of us, especially our clients. Many of the people we work with rely on benefits, meaning they’ll also be affected by changes to Universal Credit payments and more benefit sanctions.

For those living independently, keeping on top of rent, utility bills, tax and other expenses could be overwhelming without the right support.

That’s why St Mungo’s is working hard to assist clients with things like accessing benefits, applying for grants to reduce bills, and connecting with food banks, plus much more.

In short, we’re doing everything we can to prevent anyone from returning to the streets.

Clare is the Advice Services Manager on our Welfare Rights team, who specialise in supporting clients with benefits. She explains how they’ve been helping:

What does your role at St Mungo’s involve?

“I manage our Welfare Rights team, which is made up of specialists who are here to help anyone with a question about their welfare rights. We run an email advice line which clients, staff and volunteers can use to get in touch, and a one to one service for those who need extra help. We also work closely with the Rents team to try to resolve any problems relating to rent arrears (when someone falls behind on their rent payments) – the list goes on!”

How do you think the cost of living crisis is going to impact St Mungo’s clients?

“People living in services like Real Lettings, where they have a tenancy with bills and council tax – I think they are going to really feel the impact. I recently heard of a young client who is struggling with his tenancy. He’s a care leaver and, because of his age, he receives around £250 a month in Universal Credit. Now, he’s facing a gas bill of about £150 – more than half his monthly income. It’s just not sustainable.”