Claudia, 23, was referred to Depaul UK when the cost-of-living crisis began to overwhelm her. She is being given vital assistance to help her cope. 

“My mental health was going down and keeping on top of things went down with it. My rent had gone up, the gas and electricity had gone up… I couldn’t sort out my bills. And that affected my mental health. It’s an ongoing thing.   

“I’m in work. I have a job in a charity as an advocate for young people, mostly young care leavers. The work is important to me as I was in care myself. From the age of about 11, over seven or eight years I had a mixture of foster parents, care homes, and different sorts of semi-independent living.  

“The cost-of-living crisis impacts care leavers more as we don’t have a family we can go back to. We can’t go to our parent’s house and raid the fridge. We’re literally by ourselves. It’s hard because we’ve come out of care so we’re dealing with a lot of trauma. This is just another obstacle to go through.   

“The place I’m in now is my own council flat. I got it when I was 20. I was given a grant to buy white goods because I was a care leaver. But once you’ve bought them you don’t have much money left to do anything like decorate. My home has a minimum of furniture in it.   

“My job is good, it’s what I want to do. I go and speak to managers about the views of young people. But I don’t earn a big wage. And the number of hours I work each month can affect my Universal Credit. The majority of the money I get goes on household bills. After that, there’s not much left. Sometimes it’s choosing whether it’s food or electricity in the month. Or I just go without, wrap up warm, and see if I can use a friend’s washer. 

“I’m grateful I get help from Jennifer at Depaul UK. She does regular check-ins with me. If I’m not sure how to deal with something like council tax arrears, she will help me by providing a number to call or recommending a support service that can help me.”

“Costs rising has definitely been a struggle. It’s always on my mind. If you’re not feeling great with your mental health and at the same time you can’t eat, it’s a bad combination.” 

 

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