With the first snow falling across the UK this week, spiralling energy bills and a cost-of-living crisis that shows no sign of relenting, many people are struggling to stay afloat this winter. And with Christmas looming – a time of year that often sees families going into debt as a result of seasonal spending – things are looking particularly grim.

A new report published on Monday (12 December) by homelessness charity Crisis estimates that nearly one million low-income households fear eviction in the coming months, while four in 10 said it’s likely they will skip meals to pay for their housing this winter.

While there are many reasons to feel concerned right now, there are organisations and individuals out there to help people in crisis. We’ve listed some of the places you can go to seek help, advice and support.


Housing advice

The homelessness charity Shelter works across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offering a wealth of information relating to housing and homelessness, including advice on eviction, rent arrears, council housing and repairs. They also have an emergency helpline for people in crisis and a webchat service for those seeking a quick answer to housing problems.

Rough sleeping

When the weather is particularly poor, local authorities issue Severe Weather Emergency Protocols (SWEP) which trigger the opening of short-term accommodation for homeless people.

A homeless person sleeping in a doorway in London in 2020

(Getty Images)

If you see someone sleeping rough and are concerned for their safety, contact StreetLink, the national rough sleeper referral line, which will connect the person with local support services.



If you’re struggling to pay your household bills, firstly remember that you are not alone. While it’s tempting to try and avoid the problem, the best bet is to bite the bullet and contact your supplier. According to Citizens Advice, they have to try and help you come to a solution. This might be a repayment plan, but it has to be a deal that works for you both. If you ignore the problem, they could threaten to disconnect you.

Household bills have rocketed in recent months

(Getty Images)

Try and avoid payday loans or other forms of high-cost credit, if possible. Exorbitant rates can often leave you in more financial trouble.

If you’re struggling to pay for essentials, some options include credit unions and government-run schemes that can provide emergency loans.

Turn2Us are a charity that help people in financial difficult access grants and support.


If you think you’re entitled to any benefits, you can use a number of online benefit calculators that do the sums based on your income and circumstances. These include entitledto and Turn2Us. The benefits system is notoriously complicated, however, so if you’re struggling to navigate this, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau who should be able to assist.


According to The Money Charity, 313 people a day were declared insolvent or bankrupt in England or Wales between July and September 2022, the equivalent of one person every four minutes and 36 seconds. If you’re struggling with debt, Step Change can offer expert, free debt advice and free-free debt management support.


A Trussell Trust foodbank in Brixton, south London

(AFP via Getty Images)

Food banks

Food inflation hit a record high of 12.4 per cent at the end of November, with millions of Britons struggling to afford the basics. Leading charity The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of 1,300 food banks across the UK, offers free food and essential household items to those in need. To access a food bank, you must have a referral from one of the following:

  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Your social worker
  • A trusted advice providers, such as Citizens Advice
  • A children’s centre
  • Your local authority
  • Police or probation worker
  • Your GP, health visitor or other medical professional


Many people are struggling to heat their homes this winter

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

More than three million low-income UK households cannot afford to heat their homes, according to recent research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The news comes as an Arctic snap has hit the UK, bringing plummeting temperatures, snow and ice.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) makes the following suggestions on how to keep warm this winter:

  • Manage radiators: Bleed radiators to ensure that there is no trapped air inside preventing them from running to their full potential. Back them with foil paper so that the heat they generate is reflected back into the room, rather than absorbed into the walls and lost as waste energy
  • Wear extra layers and use hot water bottles: A cheap hot water bottle and plenty of layers can be a cheap and simple way to keep warm during this cold snap.
  • Turn down your thermostat: Turning down your heating by just one notch could save you £55 per year, according to a recent BBC estimate.
  • Invest in thermal curtains: Thicker than standard drapes and easily available from retailers such as Argos for as little as £12. If you can bear it, keep them drawn on particularly biting days, as this will trap in the warmth.

For more ideas on how to heat your home cheaply this winter, check out our guide.

In response to the cost of living crisis and spiralling energy prices, more than 3,000 registered organisations have opened, or are opening up, free, warm, welcoming spaces for the public this winter. From libraries to community centres, churches and shops, these “beacons of warmth and friendship” form a community response to the cost of living crisis. Find out more at their website and use their mapping tool to find the closest Warm Welcome Space to you.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *