Charity looking to tackle homelessness in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds over winter months
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A Suffolk charity is trying to combat a “growing problem” with homelessness in the county as the winter begins to bite.
SNAP, the Support and Advice Project, is a housing support charity based in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, has pointed to benefit changes, the rising cost of living and the lack of jobs as a possible cause of housing debt and rent arrears.
Jackie Rentle, senior administrator for SNAP, based in Bury St Edmunds, said: “Homelessness is a growing problem in Suffolk.
“Many people do not realise that there is a government-funded organisation that will provide free housing related support to those in need.
“We support over 500 people at any one time with 100 more on our waiting list, but we are keen to reach out to everyone in housing need in Suffolk.”
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A SNAP spokeswoman said: “Referrals and the need for housing related support has increased dramatically over the past couple of years, possibly due to reforms in the welfare system.
“Low income households have faced increased bills in the form of under-occupancy charges and council tax bills. In addition, those claiming Job Seekers Allowance often find themselves subject to harsh sanctions, which have a knock-on effect on their housing benefit and council tax benefits and can lead to rent arrears.”
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She added: “Those with disabilities have faced changes to benefits and have to pass stricter medical assessments in order to claim. This has left many households in the county facing extreme poverty and, in some cases, homelessness.
“In addition, the current economic climate and the lack of well paid jobs in Suffolk means that more and more people are desperate for social housing but unfortunately there are very few houses available at any one time.”
You can contact SNAP on 01473 467727 or visit www.snap-cara.org