Act now: The end of the eviction ban A few days ahead of the lifting of the coronavirus-related eviction ban, James, our CEO, writes about how we are here to help people in our community who are worried about losing their home. __________________ The initial peak of the coronavirus pandemic is now behind us. No one can say if we’re going to face a second wave of this pandemic in Britain; I hope and pray that we do not. What we can be a little more certain of is that the economic impact of this pandemic is still on an upward curve. Nationally, there has been an 81% increase in claims for Universal Credit since March, and that is whilst we still have the furlough scheme in place! Locally, the situation is significantly worse. The Department of Work and Pensions say that the ‘HP’ postcode, which includes Wycombe and much of the area we serve, has seen a disproportionately high increase in claims at 129%. That’s almost double the national rate and makes us the fourth hardest hit area in the country. Hundreds of households in Buckinghamshire are finding that their income doesn’t cover their outgoings and the worry that they could be facing homelessness is building. And to make matters worse, the eviction ban put in place as lockdown began ends at midnight on Sunday 23rd August. Homelessness devastates lives, families can be torn apart, people lose work, kids can be pulled out of schools, and people can even end up sleeping on the street. But this is exactly what we’re here for. We are on a mission to stop anyone locally lose their homes as a result of all this. We’re your local charity and we specialise in homelessness prevention. If you’re worried about being made homeless and you want help with legal advice, negotiating with your landlord, ensuring you’ve claimed all the benefit you might be entitled to, making sure that you get all the statutory help you might be entitled to and range of other things, call us. Our Homelessness Prevention line on 01494 447699 is open 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday and you can find more ways to get in touch here. We offer support and advice over the phone, by email, by video call and we will do whatever works for you. I know that we live in a very caring and generous community here in Wycombe and the surrounding areas; people look after each other. Many hundreds of people support us and the response during the initial wave of the pandemic was tremendous. I know that many people will want to pull together as a community again as what is likely to be a deep and painful recession hits. So if you want to help others facing this situation, there are actions that you can take: Crucially, if you know anyone who might be in this position please encourage them to get in touch with us as soon as possible. Many people who are at risk of homelessness now have never been in this position before and may not know where to turn for help. Tell them about us. Let people know we are here to help; share our posts on social media, ask us for a poster and put it where you think people will see it. You can donate money to us so we can continue to be here to help for as long as we are needed. Click here to give today. You can pray for the people who may be facing homelessness and for our work and encourage people at your place of worship to do the same. Thank you.