Empower disadvantaged Armenians with legal advice

by Centre for Armenian Information & Advice (CAIA)
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Empower disadvantaged Armenians with legal advice
Empower disadvantaged Armenians with legal advice
Empower disadvantaged Armenians with legal advice

Project Report | Jun 17, 2024
Empower disadvantaged Armenians with legal advice

By Misak Ohanian & Arthur Manouk Cahill | CAIA CEO & CAIA Advice Worker

CAIA seeks to promote well-being and access to statutory rights and other available support services to improve the quality of life of vulnerable UK Armenians.

Every day CAIA encounters people who experience struggles that are both universal and deeply personal. These particularly apply during periods of high inflation and the cost-of-living crisis which weighs heavily on those on low income, many of whom remain unaware of available support and are hindered by pride from claiming their rightful benefits.

According to a collaborative survey CAIA undertook with “HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network” on the impact of inflation on our London community we found out that inflation had a deep and hard impact on those we seek to help. The issues people are struggling with most are:

  • Food
  • Gas and Electricity
  • Childcare
  • Rent has gone up
  • People have stopped going on holiday to be able to afford their basic needs

The CAIA Advisory Service is the only such specific provision addressing the daily stressful challenges these vulnerable individuals and families face.

During 2023/24, thanks to CAIA’s advisory provision we helped mitigate some of the harsh impact of inflation and the cost-of-living crisis by:

  • Helping 552 people born in 30 different countries
  • A total of £525,182.20 was raised in financial support & welfare benefits such as Universal Credit Housing Benefit, PIPs and Child Benefit which otherwise would not have been claimed
  • 167 clients benefited from fuel & poverty support such as weekly grocery boxes and shopping vouchers to those qualifying
  • 184 clients were provided with immigration advice
  • 1,224 pieces of advice were provided, with 3,334 interventions / actions take to progress the cases
  • 257 housing & homelessness related queries were dealt with
  • 20 disabled people/carers were helped to overcome barriers by securing travel concessions
  • 17 people were assisted to find or maintain employment.

In addition, to empower and help people’s personal growth and long-term resilience CAIA organised a Financial Wellbeing Workshop in February 2024 in association with The Money Charity. Topics covered during the well-attended workshop included:  -

  • Financial wellbeing and the cost of living
  • Budgeting & Keeping Track
  • Credit, borrowing and understanding your credit score
  • Where to access support for help with debt
  • Savings
  • Making your money go further

(See photo from the workshop)

A heart-warming example of positive impact is shared below: -

Mr and Mrs A are elderly digitally excluded married couple from the Middle East. They came to England some years ago to escape the troubles in their home country.

They rented accommodation outside London and went through the process of eviction by their landlord. The local council originally dismissed their homelessness application. They were advised to return to their home country, despite accumulating many years integrating and settling in the area. They sought assistance from CAIA. The CAIA Advice Worker, after carrying out a holistic review, ascertained that Mr and Mrs A were owed a duty by the local Council.

Following the intervention and advocacy by CAIA’s Advisory Service the couple returned and resided in temporary accommodation whilst the review was being carried out. After a lengthy period of advocacy, Mr and Mrs A were finally allocated permanent social housing in their original locality. The Advice Worker continued to work tirelessly to ensure that the couple were able to pay their new rent and council tax by means of successful applications for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. In addition, the CAIA Advice Worker made sure that their welfare benefits entitlement increased following a review. This enabled the ageing couple to cope much better with their new living circumstances.

 

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Organization Information

Centre for Armenian Information & Advice (CAIA)

Location: Acton - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @caia_hayashen
Project Leader:
Misak Ohanian
Acton , United Kingdom

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