Debt Awareness week 2022, is focused on the need to open up and seek out help, in order to tackle personal debt. With the current financial pressures everyone is facing, this has never been more relevant.
Homelessness and Debt
Mental health, finances and homelessness are closely linked – mental health problems can make it harder to earn money and manage your finances, and debt can trigger or worsen depression, anxiety and stress, as well as cause relationship problems and trigger drugs and alcohol abuse. All these issues are contributing factors to homelessness, but the common factor is always financial strain.
The CAP Client Report 2021, surveyed over 2,500 clients, and highlights some key findings around debt. It shows how people struggle to open up and seek help, how deeply it can affect every aspect of their lives and how interlinked the relationship between debt and other causal factors of homelessness are. Of the respondents:
58% felt they had nobody to turn to.
50% waited over a year before seeking help
76% had experienced sleepless nights due to debt
28% had considered or attempted suicide due to debt
19% suffered a relationship breakdown due to debt
43% found it worsened a mental health issue
20% claimed it had caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol
(source CAP Client Report 2021)
Improved Financial Literacy
Therefore, when looking at preventing homelessness, one of the main factors to tackle is improving an individual’s financial literacy. It is far more productive to prevent the situations which may lead to homelessness before they happen, and reducing financial strain is the key. Although mental health is an important issue to tackle, it should be viewed in conjunction with money management skills, employment and improved financial knowledge.
Room To Breathe
Here at CENS we work closely with our residents to understand their financial pressures. We give them a safe space and room to breathe so that they can view their situation more clearly and access the help and support they need to move forward. Our local charity partners Colchester CAP Debt Centre (CCDC), www.capcolchester.org provide free debt help, along with practical and emotional support to show that there is hope for everyone.
They also offer 2 free courses. The CAP Money Course, aimed at anyone wanting to gain the tools to help them take control of their finances and work towards their financial goals, and the CAP Life Skills Course, which teaches the skills to live well on less income – including cooking and money management, as well as exploring relationships and self esteem – there is a lot of food and fun involved! You can call their enquiries team free of charge on 0800 328 0006.
Break The Stigma Of Debt
The key message is that you are not alone and that there is so much free help, advice and support out there, which is easy to access. It’s time to break the stigma attached to debt and to encourage everyone to be open and start a conversation.
Here are some organisations who can offer support, advice and help for debt management, all of which are free to access.