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A crisis can happen for all sorts of reasons – it could financial, struggling with benefit delays, feeling unsafe in your home because of a partner or ex-partner, or struggling to cope generally. CHS may be able to help, or point you in the right direction for the support you need. There is no need to struggle alone. Scroll down this page to find out ways we can help.

We can help and on this page there is information about:

  • Confusion about Universal Credit
  • Access to Food Banks and emergency grants
  • Emergency Helplines
  • Feeling unsafe in your home
  • Anti Social Behaviour (ASB)

You have probably heard quite a bit about Universal Credit in the news, and you may be wondering if it will affect you or you may already be trying to make a claim. Universal Credit replaces 6 existing benefits (Income based Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit). You will not be affected by Universal Credit if you are over Pension Credit age. Even if you already claim one or more of the 6 benefits listed above, you may not find you are affected for a long time yet (possibly 2023) unless you have a change of circumstances. Here is a very useful leaflet from the Department for Work and Pensions . If you’re worried, please don’t keep it to yourself – ask for advice from our Money Matters team, let us know if your rent payments will be affected and we can support you. If you do apply for Universal Credit, a couple of important points:

  1. When you complete your claim online, to avoid delay give your landlord’s name as ‘Cambridge Housing Society’ rather than ‘CHS’;
  2. Let us know, so we can help you – we’ll confirm the rent you pay to help your claim go smoothly, we’ll know that you may have a gap in rent payments while it gets sorted, we can give advice on your claim and on other money matters and we can talk about how you will make your rent payments once it’s all sorted.

Food Banks and Grant Help

You may be able to get support from the Cambridgeshire Local Assistant Scheme (CLAS), which CHS co-ordinates through local partners. CLAS can provide information, advice and one off practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure. Following an assessment, you may be eligible for a CLAS award which could be in the form supermarket vouchers, recycled furniture or new white goods. We are a member of the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance which brings together people and organisations in the City who are committed to reducing food poverty. Visit this useful link to see the emergency food provision available in Cambridge Emergency food signposting tool Also check if you are eligible for Healthy Start Vouchers to ensure you are not missing out. For more information about Food Banks and Grant help Click here

Emergency Help Lines

Are you feeling stressed, worried or experiencing feelings you can’t manage? Talking to someone who will listen and won’t judge and will help you through is vital. All of the below are free phone helplines: Samaritans call 116 123 Available 365 days a year 24 hours a day NHS call 111 and press option 2 for a 24 hour service for people in a mental health crisis living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Lifeline 0808 808 2121 7-11pm 7 days a week

Citizen’s Advice

If you are unsure what to do and need help, please contact your local Citizens Advice CAMBRIDGE CITY AND SOUTH CAMBS 0344 848 7979 – 66 Devonshire Road Cambridge CB1 2BL HUNTS, FENLAND AND EAST CAMBS 0344 245 1292 70 Market Street Ely CB7 4LS Pathfinder House St Mary’s Street Huntingdon PE29 3TN CAB Portacabin Tan Yard Car Park St Neots PE19 1AN 9 Church Mews Wisbech PE13 1HL

Do you feel safe in your home?

Click here for more information on keeping safe and getting help during Covid 19.

You do not have to suffer abuse alone – watch our video There are people who can help – meet our CHS Champions Domestic abuse can happen in any household. It is widespread and under-reported, and can happen to men or women. Abuse generally has a negative impact on a person’s mental and/or physical well-being and also affects the emotional and social well-being of children in the household. It need not be physical violence – it may be emotional, psychological, financial or controlling behaviour. CHS is opposed to all forms of domestic abuse (whether between partners / ex-partners or between other family members and against vulnerable adults) and will positively support those who experience it. We will take strong action against the perpetrators of domestic violence where we have the power to do so, and work with partner agencies to help to increase the choices for those who are abused. If you commit domestic abuse it is a breach of your tenancy agreement. We adopt a person-centred approach. We aim to:

  • Listen, support and take a non-judgemental approach
  • Take the action you want if you’re experiencing domestic abuse
  • We work closely with other agencies to make sure that together we make the greatest impact to stop any abuse

New national Domestic Abuse website

Refuge runs the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247) which provides free, confidential support to women experiencing all forms of domestic abuse. The team links women to emergency accommodation, and provides emotional support and empower women with information about their rights and options, helping to increase your safety and that of your children – and begin to rebuild their lives. Refuge also has a digital Helpline platform: The website is an easy to navigate where women (and friends, family and professionals supporting women) can:

  • Find out about your rights and options – for example, in relation to housing, child contact, criminal and civil remedies
  • Contact Helpline workers via a secure web contact form that puts the power in women’s hands to decide the best time to talk.
  • Find support to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and begin to process your own experiences
  • Gain reassurance about what it is like to call the Helpline and what you can expect

Safe Spaces

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with Boots, Morrisons pharmacies, Superdrug pharmacies, Well pharmacies, independent pharmacies, HSBC and TSB banks across the UK to provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse. You can use a safe space in whichever way works for you. They provide a safe and discrete way to reach out to friends and family, and contact specialist support services.

How to access a Safe Space

  • Walk into any participating safe space in the UK
  • Ask a member of staff at the counter to use their safe space
  • You will be shown to the Safe Space which will be a private room
  • Once inside you can use the safe space in whichever way works for you. They provide a safe and discrete way to reach out to friends and family, contact specialist support services and start your journey to recovery.

Safe Spaces are open and ready for you to use. Just click on the link below to locate spaces in the area needed.

Safe Spaces Locations – UK SAYS NO MORE

Useful contacts Cambridge Women’s Aid 01223 460947 National Domestic Abuse 24 hr Helpline 0808 2000 247 National Victim Support 0845 3030 900 Men’s Advice Line 0808 8010 237 Click here for our Domestic Abuse Policy For more information read our article and see our tips on how to cover your tracks online

Feeling Unsafe In Your Home – Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if I feel unsafe in my home?

You can call the 24 hour Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 which has fully trained support workers, confide in a friend, contact your Housing Officer or Support worker or contact the police. “I didn’t know I was experiencing domestic abuse for a long time. I remember feeling so relieved the very first time I rang the helpline that someone understood exactly what I was going through.”

What can I do if I am concerned about a friend or neighbour?

Unless someone is very open about their experience of abuse it may be difficult to acknowledge the problem directly. There is great advice on the Women’s Aid website. If you think a neighbour is in immediate danger, it may be time to contact the police.

Anti-Social Behaviour – ASB

Sometimes anti-social behaviour is more urgent because you’re in danger or going through severe harassment. If you feel in physical danger, call the police on 101 or 999 depending on how severe the risk is. Where necessary CHS can work with the police and other agencies to help resolve the problem. If you feel you’re being harassed, you can contact your Housing Officer and they will talk you through the options. Click here for more information

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