‘Housing queries doubled in a year – and it will get worse’

THE number of people asking for advice as they are struggling to find accommodation in Guernsey has doubled since this time last year, according to Citizens Advice Guernsey chief executive Kerry Ciotti.

Citizens Advice Guernsey chief executive Kerry Ciotti outside its Bridge Avenue offices, which are on the edge of the Leale’s Yard site and could be impacted when development work starts. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30831297)
Citizens Advice Guernsey chief executive Kerry Ciotti outside its Bridge Avenue offices, which are on the edge of the Leale’s Yard site and could be impacted when development work starts. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30831297)

And she expects the problem is expected to get worse.

Last year, 3,500 islanders contacted CAG and out of the 11,000 enquiries made, housing was the most-raised concern.

The 2,320 housing enquires included eviction, homelessness, and difficulties in affording accommodation.

‘It is not going away and if anything it’s getting worse,’ Mrs Ciotti said.

‘In a society as affluent as it is in Guernsey compared to other places, it’s extraordinary that we have people that are homeless.’

The rising cost of living is impacting many islanders, and Mrs Ciotti said it could be difficult to find solutions for clients.

‘It’s hard when you can’t actually find a solution for them, but it helps people when you have a kind, supportive ear,’ she said.

‘When problems are very big and very real to you, it gives comfort when you can share those problems.’

The CAG annual report said although the minimum wage had been raised, this did not mean it was a living wage.

Mrs Ciotti added: ‘If you are on minimum wage, you won’t be able to afford rent, electricity, food or any real quality of life, I don’t think.’

She was thankful for the CAG volunteers for their work in helping members of the community.

‘The demands on the volunteers increase every year in terms of the level of advice they are asked to deliver, along with increased compliance and the unrelenting rate of change we are experiencing.’

Other frequent enquiries from islanders also included problems regarding work, family, and law and rights. More than1,700 issues were money-related.

‘Our trained money advisers are great in helping people manage debt and trying to avoid it,’ said Mrs Ciotti, who encouraged anyone struggling to get in touch with CAG.

‘It is a tough time for people at the moment and CAG wants to do its best to help its community by giving free advice.’

n For more information, visit www.citizensadvice.org.gg or call 242266.

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