CEO: Tough times ahead
Times are tough. Tough for the people who work for us and tough for the people who volunteer for us. Times are really tough for the people who live, work and study in Haringey and depend on us.
It has been said before but Covid-19 has not been a great leveller, it has not affected everyone the same. It has had a disproportionate impact on poor communities. People living in unsuitable, unsafe accommodation, people surviving on insecure employment have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and there is a lot of evidence that the next six months will be even harder than the last six. The latest IMF economic outlook forecasts that our economy will shrink by 4.4% this year.
As more of the population fall onto hard times, it's time to fix the safety net. Increasingly Universal Credit will be required to do the heavy lifting. This is why we at Citizens Advice are calling for the government to maintain the £20 uplift to Universal Credit beyond April 2020. Locally we are putting more resources into our Universal Credit Help to Claim Service to ensure that we can help more residents navigate this benefit up until the point of receiving their first correct payment.
The ending of the ban on evictions is a worrying time for many of the people we work with. For those paused in the eviction process the coming months will bring more uncertainty and upheaval at a time when many can ill afford it. We know that there are 100's of families in the borough who are now at risk of eviction, who could have their lives turned upside down. We are committed to doing all that we can to keep as many of these families in their homes. We are working with Homes for Haringey and the Council to encourage people who may be struggling to seek help and advice as early as possible. It’s never too early to talk!
Our phone service remains open 9-5 Monday to Friday. We are looking to introduce video calls as an option on this service. Hopefully soon you will be able to put a face to the voice!
On top of this we are trying to cast our advice net ever wider. We are now offering a chat facility on our website. When you visit our site (www.haringeycabx.org.uk) you will be greeted by Carl who can answer some basic enquiries. We are also launching a new Emergency Food service where people can Whatsapp message a member of our team and be directed to the most appropriate source of free food. We are now also offering an email advice service for people who may struggle to access our advice over the phone.
We are delighted to announce that it will shortly be free to call Advice Line to get advice whenever and wherever you call us from. More to follow on this development! At this difficult time, I urge you to ask for help and remind you that Citizens Advice Haringey are here. Take care, Daniel