We, Citizens Advice Hounslow, are the primary free advice provider in Hounslow and a lifeline for thousands of people who have lost their livelihoods due to Covid-19. Even before Covid-19, the unemployment rate in Hounslow was the highest in London.
While the economy in general and the airline industry in particular suffer the impact of Covid-19, Hounslow has been particularly severely hit with 43,000 residents employed by Heathrow and its supply chain. Many have lost their jobs entirely and others have struggled to survive on a reduced income while being furloughed.
Hounslow already suffered high levels of deprivation, 16 areas in the top 20% and 2 in the top 10% of the UK Indices of Multiple Deprivation. A large number of residents, as many as 15%, suffer long term health issues. 51% of residents are from a BAME background and more likely to experience language difficulties, while many of our clients are digitally exluded and cannot access fundamental services without our support.
In the current crisis, the demand on our service has reached unprecedented levels, and since the end of March we have stretched to assist many more thousands of people in need of claiming Universal Credit, of employment advice and other enquiries.
As government support for employees, businesses and the self-employed is coming to an end and debt recovery resumes, the demand for our advice is growing even further as people call us fearing eviction proceedings and debt enforcement such as bailiffs' action.
The latest data from Citizens Advice confirms that debt and money advice queries are rising dramatically as during lockdown milliions of people accrued rent arrears, council tax and household bills arrears.
Your generous donation will help us recruit a full time experienced Adviser who will:
- help with the increased demand and assist more people financially during this crisis, by tackling hardship and preventing homelessness through debt and money advice;
- advise residents holistically on a range of interconnected issues: employment, welfare benefits, housing, debt, immigration, family, etc , offering practical help to those most in need;
- support people into work by helping the access financial assistance while looking for work
- contribute to our social policy research and campaigning work to bring about change and improve lives
In turn, having a skilled Adviser in the team will enable other staff to train more volunteers, creating opportunities for people to train with us and gain valuable skills to secure employment.
Your contribution means a lot to us and we thank you for you generosity.