We recently carried out our Autumn Big Door Knock. Every quarter, colleagues from settle and our executive team go and meet or contact residents in a different neighbourhood to find out how they’re doing.
We wanted to use this Big Door Knock to understand how much of an impact the rise in the cost of living is having on residents’ households, their concerns and lifestyle changes, whether they were receiving support and what settle could do to help.
We knocked on the doors of 900 homes across Royston and surrounding villages as well as Pixmore in Letchworth and spoke with almost 300 residents.
Impact of rising costs
The majority of residents we spoke to told us the rise in the cost of living has already had an impact on them and as a result they’ve had to make changes to their lifestyles. These include cutting back on heating, food and use of appliances as well as going without non-essentials such as meals out and trips. Residents’ biggest worries are paying bills and affording food.
Other concerns include:
- managing physical disabilities and mental wellbeing
- pensions not stretching far enough
- fears of losing their home.
Some residents highlighted concerns when it comes to paying rent, the rising costs of fuel and travel and being able to afford oil to heat homes.
About 40% of the residents we spoke to said they’re receiving additional support with many choosing family and friends as an option to provide help. This is followed by benefits and aid from other organisations such as foodbanks and mental health services.
A third of residents told us that they felt there was nothing that settle needed to or could do to help. Our colleagues are in touch with these residents to provide support according to their individual circumstances..
Other suggestions included help with the cost of heating/ bills, windows or door replacement, insulation or financial advice and support.
More than a Landlord
We’re using this feedback to further develop the support we provide.
Our director of housing, Joe Williams added: “We know the impact rising costs are having on customers. We are working collaboratively on a variety of support initiatives including support and advice with bills through the ‘pocket power’ scheme.
“Other projects that we are working with provide recycled furniture and an oil purchasing scheme for residents living in rural areas, as well as other measures that we will update customers on as they are confirmed. We also refer customers to partner agencies where appropriate as some of the challenges customers face require more assistance from organisations that offer dedicated support in certain areas.”
If you are struggling to pay your rent or would like more information on how to access help – please let us know. We can provide practical help, like setting up energy and utility bill payments, applying for benefits and grants and supporting your mental wellbeing. More information is available on our website.
There is also a free and easy to use budgeting and benefits calculator on our website which can help you to see how much benefit you may be entitled to.
As part of the Big Door Knock, we heard that we could do better in some areas, with over 120 customers using the opportunity to escalate an issue they had in their home. Most wanted an update on reported repairs.
These have gone directly to the teams responsible to action and they will follow up directly with the residents
If you would like to share your views on our services – you can tell us what we could do better and when we’ve done something well or make a complaint at any time.