Laura McCullagh works with people who are in danger of homelessness. She tells The Mint how her clients’ difficulties begin with lack of money and how she tries to guide them off the path that starts with a mounting pile of unopened bills and too often finishes with sleeping on the street.
She is now Financial Resilience Coordinator at St Luke’s Hub in Kennington, London where she helps people to avoid ending up without a home. Recently her work has had to be focused solely on helping people deal with the new Universal Credit System which she says is exacerbating their anxieties. At the outset its requirement of online access and a bank account, she says, frustrates the digitally and financially excluded people she works with. But more seriously, in some circumstances the Department of Work and Pensions can deduct debt repayments amounting to half of the already very limited allowance.
With no means to talk to the DWP to re-negotiate the amount, private lenders might look like angels in comparison.
Listen to the full interview above (31:10 min)