Poverty Stories - Part 2
Posted on December 7th, 2014 at 8:12AM
On this second Sunday of Advent, we highlight another two stories of how people can suddenly find themselves in crisis with not enough money for the basic things they need.
Poverty Story #3
Caroline is intelligent, well educated and was working in a teaching job but was in an abusive relationship. She escaped by fleeing with her two children to a women's refuge leaving everything she owned behind her. Whilst she was there she had a nervous breakdown and her children were taken away from her. She left the refuge and was homeless, ending up staying in a night shelter for 5 months.
Caroline managed to get her own home but by this time was left with huge debts from being unable to work for some time. Acts 435 paid for her debt relief order so that she can write off her debts and make a fresh start.
Poverty Story #4
Jack is in his 40s and has worked in construction all his life. Recently he had to take a couple of years off to care for his ageing parents. When he attempted to re-enter the Job Market, he find some almost insurmountable barriers to getting back to the work he knew and enjoyed.
Firstly, he needed to sit a test and pay a fee to receive a CSCS card (construction skills certificate scheme) which simply indicates Jack is aware of health and safety issues pertinent to a building site. Having been out of work, Jack's resources were low to find the money for the fee and his literacy skills meant taking the test was a real challenge. Acts 435 has helped a number of people like Jack get their CSCS card.
He also found the IT systems at the Job Centre very confusing having never really needed to worry about working on computers before. It seemed like the list of available jobs were the same as he had already applied for so didn't re-apply but then he got sanctioned. When he did send off an application he was never sure it really got sent - talk of attaching a Word document was all a completely new language to him. When referred to a secondary website in order to log a job application he had no idea he needed to create a separate profile for this new website to apply for a job.
The whole experience of looking for jobs makes Jack sweat as he is so out of his depth in the world of IT and yet his life depends on it, so as not to get sanctioned whilst looking, but ultimately to be able to get that all-important job.
Caroline acted to protect her children and herself. Jack left the labour market to care for his parents. Now both need a helping hand as they navigate the next steps for themselves in a changing world. Acts 435 can provide that helping hand financially; our participating churches and charities can give practical assistance on the ground.
In 2008, over 50% of people in the UK felt they were computer illiterate. Whilst decreasing all the time, it is still likely to be higher than we probably imagine.
As many as one in 5 people in the UK could be classed illiterate, struggling to read a medicine pack or use a cheque book.
One in nine women is severely physically abused each year in incidents of domestic violence. Two are killed each week.
In up to 40% of cases of women becoming homeless, domestic violence was the main cause or a contributing factor.