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Charity Outlines Hidden Cost of Poverty


                                                                                                                                Tuesday June 14 2022


NEARLY two-thirds of those in poverty feel lonely or fearful according to a Christian anti-poverty charity.


Charting the hidden costs of poverty, Charis Scott, Christians Against Poverty Scotland Promotion and Engagement Manager said: “At Christians Against Poverty (CAP) we are seeing a concerning upward trend in the impact that low income and problem debt is having on households throughout Scotland. In a recent survey, we discovered that 60% of our clients have felt lonely often or always. Over two thirds (68%) were scared to answer the phone, more than half (55%) were too afraid to answer the door and 40% were too afraid to leave their home. Worryingly, the proportion who thought no one could help them has increased from 34% to 43%.


“Right now we know many people are feeling isolated, scared and forgotten as they struggle alone with their debts, not aware of the free help available. Too many remain trapped in debt as they are too embarrassed or ashamed to tell anyone, even those closest to them.”


The charity has a network of community-based debt centres, based in local churches throughout Scotland, which proved free, professional person-centred debt to anyone who needs it.


Charis added: “In Scotland, the average annual household income for CAP clients is less than half of the UK average. Without a debt solution, the average repayment term in Scotland is a staggering 43 years - something that simply isn’t sustainable.


“Even before the pandemic, over one million people in Scotland were living in poverty. That means for over one million people their resources fall far below their minimum needs. This means facing daily financial uncertainty that strips people of dignity, it strips them of choices and it prevents them from being able to fully participate in the community around them. Poverty is oppressive, it is all consuming and it can pull people under.”


Encouraging churches to make a difference, Charis said: “The latest stats released by the Scottish Government, show that people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland have a life expectancy that is 25 years shorter than those in the least deprived areas. Poverty is costing lives.


In the face of such overwhelming injustice it can be hard to know where to start but the important thing is to take that first step. Rise up in prayer, lift up the people around you and petition God for lasting change. Get to know people in your community, open your doors, show them the practical love of Jesus, host community meals, create a safe space for people to come and be heard. Partner with organisations like CAP, that can resource your church with specialist knowledge and tools.”


Find out more at capuk.org/yourchurch


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