Teachers' housing crisis: how our grants can help

The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis that is affecting too many people, regardless of profession, class or background. Our Grants Caseworker Carl tells us more about the issues we’re seeing and how we’re able to help those in need, thanks to your support.

What differences have you seen in recent months in response to the housing crisis?

Each month, I’ve been telling my colleagues “we’ve broken the record for most applications received” because more and more education professionals are approaching us for help. I’m so pleased they’ve found us, but at the same time am saddened by how many people need support. Many of the applications I receive aren’t from people who have done anything wrong. They are from people just like Tara.

Professionals who have been caught in the perfect storm of austerity kicking in, the rising housing prices and salaries being frozen. As the saying goes – we’re all just one payslip away from poverty. Especially if it’s a struggle to make ends meet each month and you can’t build up a safety net of savings.

What sort of issues do people apply for grants for?

Our number one issue is housing. This could range from helping with the first month’s rent like Tara needed, to making rent or mortgage payments in the summer months. Many supply staff and lecturers are on term-time only contracts, which means they sometimes struggle during the holidays. 

Our two main aims are to keep professionals in their homes, and in their jobs. Teachers who have moved to take a new job are often working a month in arrears and need help getting to work. We might make a smaller grant of a few hundred pounds to cover the costs of petrol or a travelcard. It makes the difference between someone staying in teaching or not.

What else does Education Support Partnership do to help?

We often give grants to cover essential household items such as a cooker or washing machine. When someone is in financial crisis, being able to prepare dinner for their family and keep their work clothes clean can make such a difference to their self-esteem.

We’re very holistic in our approach, we want to make sure when we help someone with a grant, it will have a long-term impact. This sometimes means referring someone to a  financial advice service such as Step Change, or working in partnership  with other charities like Macmillan to ensure someone can access all the relevant services they may need or be entitled to.

What’s the best part of your job?

One of the best parts of my job is hearing from people we’ve helped and knowing what a difference we’ve been able to make.

It’s so lovely to hear Tara is even happier in her new home than she was before, and has a better worklife balance as a result because she no longer needs to work three jobs to make ends meet. 

What can you do?

To meet the rising demand for our help, we need your help. Please show your support and solidarity for the education community by donating to our Christmas appeal.