What are your biggest challenges?
Cath Stirling is interviewed about the challenges facing MCM's Next Stage Housing Project
What are your biggest challenges in finding housing for your clients?
We are experiencing the same challenges that are being well documented in various articles in the media. A lack of social housing, a lack of affordable private rented properties, and the fact that the local housing allowance that can be claimed has not been increased in the last few years. All of these mean that there is increased competition for the few places that are available.
What are the biggest challenges in keeping your clients in their current properties?
People are struggling to pay their rent especially when the rents are increased and general costs are rising.
More landlords are looking to sell their properties or to increase their rents as their mortgage has increased.
Are there any other issues that are particular to the clients you deal with?
With increased competition for housing some of our clients really struggle as many have a less than perfect history, are not working and perhaps have lost their housing before.
Many of our clients are living on benefits, which means their income is fixed and they are struggling when costs increase.
Given these issues, what can Manchester City Mission offer?
Working on an individual basis, we seek to support our clients in their search for housing whilst offering landlords the assurance that we will continue to work with our clients to help them make a success of their tenancy. We can offer a point of contact for both landlord and tenant and a safety net if anything goes wrong.
We can help with sourcing furniture, setting up accounts and making applications whilst also expecting that the client will be fully engaged with the process themselves.
Through the tenancy ready course that we are developing, we hope to make our clients more resilient when issues arise. We want to give them the tools to deal with problems that they encounter in their tenancies and to encourage them to think more creatively when coming up with solutions.
What can supporters of Manchester City Mission do to help?
One of the biggest things that supporters can do is to pray for the people we are working with and pray for the team. It cannot be overrestimated the difference that prayer makes.
Another thing that our supporters can do is share about what Manchester City Mission is doing and perhaps ask a team member to come and share with your church or group about the work.
A third thing that supporters can do is ask if there is any other way that the Lord might want you to be involved. Perhaps you could volunteer, perhaps you could give a regular update on the work in your church. We are always in need of prayerful encouragement.