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.
Feb 27, 2017
We were contacted urgently about a man from Poland who has terminal cancer. He has been living and working in the UK for the past 15 years, however because he left the UK between 2006 and 2008 and returned to Poland to care for his dying mother, he is now being refused the opportunity to claim Employment Support Allowance. His rent is in arrears, but our agent is dealing with the landlord over that, who is cooperating fully, so it is hopeful that he won't be evicted. He has no remaining family in Poland and wants to live out the rest of his days here in the UK. We agreed to send across £150 as he has no food, gas or electricity. Our agent is now able to converse with the DWP directly about his case so is hopeful the decision to refuse him can be overturned.
Feb 23, 2017
Today our agent told us of a lady who has been homeless in the past and has lived in homeless shelters. She was finally offered a permanent place to live, but in order to be able to move in she had to clear some outstanding arrears. She did this using her Employment Support Allowance payments, but by doing so this left her without any money for food, cleaning materials, or money to put on her gas and electric meters. She has Chron's Disease, so has to have a careful diet to stay on top of it. We agreed to send £100, so that she could put £15 on each of her gas and electric meters, and the remaining £70 to buy food to stock up with, as well as some cleaning materials.
Jan 12, 2017
A lady we were aware of had told the DWP that she would be moving her boyfriend in to live with her on a permanent basis. She was at the time in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and low rate Disability Living Allowance. Being in receipt of ESA meant she was able to claim housing benefit and council tax relief. DWP responded to her honesty by immediately stopping her ESA payments, which then triggered her housing benefit and council tax relief being stopped also. Her partner had only part time work, 20 hours per week, which was too few to be able to claim working tax credits, currently 30 hours per week, so that wasn't an option. Also because the work he was doing was as a self employed person, he was struggling to get any proof of his income to give to their local authority to satisify their demands for proof of earnings. All this happened just before Christmas, and he was left with no work at all over the Christmas period, so no income beyond the low rate DLA she received. Her rent was in arrears, and she was close to losing her home. It was just a struggle too far. So we agreed to send across £300 to cover the rent arrears and an extra £50 so they could get some food. Their Christmas meals over the whole of the Christmas period consisted of only baked beans and potatoes, all they could afford. Hopefully this money will help them get straight with their rent. We discovered they now have some proof of income, so hopefully the relevant authorities can be satisfied and they can begin to get on with their lives together.
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.