Jul 12, 2017
We were contacted a few hours ago about a family that were evicted from their home yesterday, who have been offered a new place to live, but they need to move today. Our agent managed to convince the landlord to allow them to stay last night so at least they weren't out on the streets. She found a 3.5 tonne Luton Van with a driver to shift the furniture and belongings and rounded up some volunteers to help them pack up and shift everything at the other end. The trouble she had though was that the family, which includes 4 children, are in receipt of Universal Credit and do not have the money to be able to pay for the move. This is where we came in and we paid the removal costs of just under £100, which included insurance as well. We were able to respond to and have this situation resolved from start to finish in under 3 hours, we would have been faster but our agent had to be present at a PIP assessment with someone else she was helping.
Jul 11, 2017
Our agents approached us about a single parent of three they are helping. She is recovering from a domestic violence situation and last year unfortunately was the one that discovered her brother dead. This has triggered her PTSD and has resulted in her almost giving up and not opening her mail. This action, or lack of has resulted in her discovering she is now under threat of eviction and she has missed two appointments for Work Capability Assessments for ESA. She is receiving help and support with this, being forced into claiming JSA while she waits the outcome of her ESA appeal. Her benefits are already subject to deductions and she is now without any money until the end of the week to buy food to feed her and her three children. We agreed to send her £50 to tide her over until Friday.
Jun 2, 2017
Our agent came to us with a case she was dealing with. Her client, a lady had been evicted from her home last September and her belongings had been placed in storage while she was living in temporary accommodation. New accommodation was found for her in March this year which she moved into but she has been muddling along without saying that her belongings such as her washing machine, bed and her fridge freezer, along with her bedding, paperwork etc have all been stored in the storage facility. Unfortunately as she was in arrears with the rental of the storage unit, the company had refused her entry to get her things and had given her until June 5th to pay the outstanding bill or the contents of her unit would be auctioned off to settle her outstanding bill. Our agent made an application to the lady's local council and they have paid the lion's share of the outstanding bill. We offered to pay £100 of it, as we were aware if she lost the items our agent might come to us for replacement white goods, so this seemed the most cost effective solution. Our agent has sought free use of a van to collect the contents and take them to the lady's house, so we could be confident that she could be reuinited with her belongings.
Apr 4, 2017
We were told about a family, who having got into rent arrears were being taken to court for eviction from their home. The debt had happened because the lady in question, a single mum, had been sanctioned a number of times through no fault of her own. This sanction meant that her housing benefit and council tax relief had stopped being paid, hence the debt. A fundraiser was put together by another party and raised over £900 to pay off the arrears, we stepped in and sent over £100. The total sum raised will be paid to clear the arrears, and it had been agreed if this happened within the time frame, then the eviction notice would not be enforced and they would be allowed to stay.
Feb 13, 2017
We were contacted about a man who had recently been evicted from where he was living, through no fault of his own. His landlady, unknown to him, had become quite seriously unwell and started to behave quite oddly, which resulted in her evicting him from his home.
Initially his local authority were unprepared to help him as they kept stating they did not believe he was living at this address. Thankfully our agent was able to provide evidence to support he had been living there, so the local authority changed their tune and decided to step in and help house him. As it is short notice and currently they don't have any suitable properties near to his friends and his family doctor. they have found him temporary accommodation, but over an hour away on the bus. Currently he has to attend his doctors three times a week, and changing doctors at the moment would not be good for his mental health, so The Biscuit Fund sent money across to buy him an inexpensive toaster, kettle, small tabletop halogen oven, quilt, pillows and some bedlinen. We also funded his first bus pass, so he would be covered for the first month and able to continue with his existing doctor. An assessment is being arranged for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and depending on the result of that, he might then be entitled to a free travel pass.
Our agent commented that just lately there have been a number of adults she'd been working with that had been tested as positive for ASD, where previously they might have been undiagnosed and presenting as "difficult" or "hard to reach" by the various agencies that has been working with them.
Feb 6, 2017
We were made aware of a family, Mum, Dad, and four of their children, struggling to keep their heads above water and not lose their home. They'd been given two weeks notice of eviction, and had to raise £650, which were the arrears on the rent, in order to prevent this from happening. The mother is disabled and has been unable to claim employment support allowance previously as the husband has been working which wouldn't allow this. Earlier last year the husband had surgery he had been waiting some time for on his back and was forced to go on to sickness benefits. He retrained afterwards as a lorry driver and was all set to go back to work, but was thwarted in his attempts when he was knocked off his motorbike. This meant he was back on sickness benefits again. With the introduction of Universal Credit, it means that many people go weeks before any money actually arrives in their bank accounts, from which they need to pay their rent, so this only served to mean there were huge gaps in their payments. Their attempts to claim for any financial help are made worse by the fact that their older sons are working jobs on minimum wage, so as non dependant adults, any housing benefit is seriously reduced. This meant that the boys money was literally keeping the family afloat, paying for the rent, council tax, bills and food. A fundraiser was put together to help the family, and £450 of the amount needed was raised that way, by donations offered by friends, family and complete strangers, that simply wanted to help. The Biscuit Fund stepped in and offered £200 towards the final sum, as there is a 15 year old girl in the household currently studying for her GCSEs. This literally saved the whole family being made homeless as well as their two elderly dogs and their cats.
Dec 22, 2016
We were contacted about a man in his forties who had suffered two strokes earlier this year, leaving him with speech and memory problems. As he had only been working on a casual basis he wasn't entitled to any sick pay. He'd applied for ESA but his forms had been lost and his claim closed in error, meaning he'd received no benefits payments since July this year. Also he was on the point of eviction as his housing benefit hadn't been paid. Our agents have managed to get his housing benefit put in place and also have made inroads into getting his ESA payments paid again, but this is unlikely to be paid until the New Year, leaving this man with no money for food over the Christmas period or for utilities. We agreed to send across £100, and hopefully some of his faith has been restored.
Dec 20, 2016
Our agent whilst at her local authority housing office, assisting another client, came across a lady she knew of, very distressed. She discovered that she was under threat of eviction, as she had been sanctioned three times from her ESA payments. This had resulted in her housing benefit not being paid, leading to her being in arrears on her rent. Our agent has confirmed that if it becomes necessary that this lady needs to go to court to fight an eviction order, she will be with her every step of the way to make certain it is not enforced. She was also going to speak to the DWP, as this is a very vulnerable woman, that has issues which has led to the sanctions, but the DWP are not taking these into consideration. Our agent will also be attending the council offices with this lady to help to get her rent issues resolved. Even sanctioned, this lady should have been made aware that she had the right to apply for housing benefit on a nil income basis, not left unsupported and without financial aid. Our agent advised us that she was making a formal complaint as she was unhappy about the lack of advice they were offering. We agreed to send across £200 to help.