We launched our crisis navigation service in March 2021 with an online event attended by a wide variety of organisations and community groups from across the boroughs of Croydon and Wandsworth.
The service was set up in response to the rising numbers of people struggling to make essential payments and whose homes were becoming at risk as a result.
Over the past year, we’ve seen that many of the people in need of crisis navigation are in that situation due to the impact of Covid-19, either because they lost their job or had their hours reduced and fell behind on their rent as a result. Delays over immigration status caused by the pandemic is another common issue – not being able to work or claim benefits means people simply can’t afford the rent. Others have been put on zero-hours’ contracts so although they are willing and available to work, their income just isn’t guaranteed.
Since we launched the service, our two crisis navigators have helped around 250 people with a financial outcome of approximately £300,000 (this figure is set to rise further as more grants and benefits are assessed.) See our infographic for more details.
Through their direct intervention:
- Evictions have been prevented and families have stayed in their homes
- Children have been able to stay in their local schools
- Families and individuals have more income due to benefits, grants or switching suppliers
- Debts have been dealt with and brought under control
- There are fewer homeless people in the local area
- People’s well-being has been improved through no longer having to worry about losing their homes
Here’s what some of our clients have had to say about the service:
“I was always scared we were going to lose our home but it means I don’t have to worry about that any more. I’m so thankful for the Law Centre’s help – it’s made a big big difference to me.” (Aisha)
“Shanice helped me apply for a guaranteed pension credit and my application was successful. I want to thank South West London Law Centres for helping me during this tough time.” (Ed)
“They applied for a DHP which paid off around £3,000 in rent arrears. This made a huge difference to me and my family. We’re now in a position where we can think about moving house. The way they’ve helped us has turned our lives around.” (Nikki)
“Since I contacted the Law Centre I have achieved so much. I’d found it overwhelming not knowing what to do or where to go, but it’s given me a solution.” (Miguel)
Maha Khurram, one of our crisis navigators, reflected on the past year:
“Working as a Crisis Navigator has been truly an honour. I find when I can make contact with people and engage, the outcomes are truly magical. My heart warms up when I hear that the court has ordered them to retain their homes because they have managed to maximise their income and get successful DHP applications. I feel this role is imperative because I have seen first hand the way it affects them. Their voice changes, they are less stressed and they can finally focus on the larger picture – which is to get out of debt without worrying about their homes. A Crisis Navigator is not only managing their crisis for the short term but to provide long-term effective outcomes that will make a true difference to someone’s life.“
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis navigation, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp message to 07743 729833.
Please note that due to funding this service is only available in the boroughs of Croydon and Wandsworth.