Oct 30, 2018
We were asked to help a mother of four children, aged 1 to 11. One of the children is on the autistic spectrum with Aspergers. The mother has recently finished a degree which has now led to a full-time job. However she and her children have been living in temporary accommodation for some time now and are about ready to move to a permanent home. While she was at University she had a student loan and when she finished she was able to claim housing benefit and income support. She correctly told the local authority she was starting work and she was aware she would no longer be entitled to claim housing benefit, but asked for a run on of her benefits payments. Unfortunately because she wasn't claiming income support for the 26 weeks prior, this was against the rules and her housing benefit and income support were immediately stopped. This caused arrears of the rent at her temporary accommodation and the knock on of this is the inability to move to the permanent accommodation with rent arrears. There is a history of domestic violence within the family and the children have to travel some distance to schools, so understandably this lady is keen to move and get the children settled. We were initially asked to clear the arrears and provide some extra for moving costs, however we had to point out we are only a small charity relying on the goodwill of others so would be unable to provide such a large amount. We did agree between us though that we would send her £100 to be used to buy food and put some money on to the energy meters so that they could at least stay warm in the meantime. Our agents are assisting them with the arrears and getting those resolved so that she and her family can move.