Aug 25, 2017
We were approached for help for a young man, 22 years old, who has recently taken over the tenancy of his Mum's house, following her death earlier this year. This young man has been given a catalogue of incorrect advice, and by places that should know better, which has resulted in him not having the financial support he should have been receiving. He has ended up in terrible debt, which is awful for someone so young. He is also a single parent, having been granted custody by the courts of his young 2 year old son, with the mother not being allowed access at all to the child. He has been receiving no financial assistance regarding his son, as he'd been advised to stop his income support claim and claim universal credit instead, which triggered a stop in his child tax credits payments. They are trying to exist on £53 per week. Our agents are helping him get all the correct benefits back in place, and they are assisting him too with the council as he's fallen behind with his bedroom tax payments, but in fact he should have been given 12 months grace following the death of his mother. He has had an awful lot to deal with in the past 10 months.
We agreed to send across to him £150 for him and his son, so they are able to buy some food and essential items. He'd had to borrow the money to buy a postage stamp so he could send off some evidence to the DWP for his universal credit claim.
Aug 3, 2017
A case we were approached about recently is very sad. Our contact has been supporting this man for some time. He has been living on the streets for a very long time, alcohol dependent, which many people are in that position, trying to blot out their feelings, so all they feel is numb. He has been in hostels for a long time and has finally been offered a real place to live. He is existing on the absolute basic level of Universal Credit, and has been coping with a sanction on his benefits for the past three months, as he was late for an appointment at the job centre. This happens so easily, it just needs lack of a bus fare and having to walk all the way there, sometimes several miles, or the bus not turning up to make a person late. Sadly the reasons why are often not considered and a sanction is slapped into place. This leaves a person with absolutely no money at all to buy food. So this man has been relying on foodbanks, and the people at the flats where he lives who have been sharing with him their own meagre supplies. His support worker was going through his financial statement with him, based on his payments being back in place and she commented that things must be really hard for him trying to manage. He explained that he didn't need much, but what he wanted to do would be to get out and walk more as it would help him cope and feel much better about himself, but he cannot afford to buy himself any shoes, nor see himself able to save up enough to buy any. So she approached us to ask if we could help him. We all agreed to help him, and sent over £50 to enable him to buy some decent trainers that would last him, and any left over he could use towards buying some food.
Jul 26, 2017
We were urgently contacted today, asking help for a lady who has had her bank account closed by her bank as they claim that there has been fraudulent activity on her bank acount by a third party. She is on Universal Credit, and has been assisted in submitting a claim for DLA for her children, and PIP for herself. Her doctor has issued her with a food voucher, so she can at least get some food for her and the children. The agents when applying for PIP on her behalf, asked that she be assessed at home as she is extremely anxious, however this has been declined. She has to attend an assessment centre tomorrow, and although they have agreed they can refund her costs in getting there, they won't do this for at least 14 days, so has no money to get to the centre. We agreed to cover the money she needed to get there, so sent across £30, so if there is anything left over she can put that towards some food.
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.
Jun 16, 2017
We were contacted about a man who suffers with chronic anxiety who has been kicked off Employment Support Allowance, forced into applying for Job Seekers instead, and is now moved again, this time on to Universal Credit. However he is subject to sanctions by the DWP which can be for reasons as simple as being held up and arriving late to sign on for example. He is now on his fourth benefit sanction, is desperate for food, but has used up all his entitlement to food bank vouchers. He also cannot get another welfare emergency payment from his council for another 12 months. He has another month to run on his latest benefit sanction, so we agreed to send across £100 to tide him over until his benefits can restart again.
May 26, 2017
Our client is a single man who has been street homeless for quite some time. He was living in a tent during the winter, but having developed a chronic cough was ordered to stay with friends temporarily while he recovered. Once the weather improved he moved back towards "home" and stayed with other friends for a nominal sum of money, but now every penny he had has been used up so he is faced with having to navigate the Universal Credit system which seems to cause more headaches than it offers solutions. While he waits for his first payment which could be another few weeks we agreed to send across £75 to allow him to top up his meters and buy some food.
May 11, 2017
We were contacted about a single mum with two young children who had unfortunately got into debt when she was switched over to being paid by Universal Credit. This young mum is deaf and suffers with anxiety, and the constant chasing from her creditors is only compounding the situation, making things far worse.
With the help and support of the agency, she is getting on top of her day to day bills, but she needs to apply for a debt relief order to sort this out. However raising the £90 to apply was beyond her means, so we agreed to send across a cheque for the £90 to be sent along with the application for the DRO. Hopefully she will be able to rebuild her life once the DRO is in place.
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.
Feb 5, 2017
We were approached via an agency about a man in his 30s who had been self employed but had had to give up work last year when his work began to dry up. He somehow managed to exist by taking out loans to provide some money to live off, but they were now writing to him constantly, seeking repayments which he was unable to meet. He was already suffering with anxiety and depression, and the constant worry of debt was only serving to escalate that. He had been advised to arrange a debt relief order which the agency were helping him with but he was unable to push that forward without the £90 it costs to put a debt relief order in place, as the Universal Credit payments he receives do not allow enough money to do that. We agreed we would send a cheque to cover this amount so that this man could then begin to focus on getting his life back on track and be well enough again to be able to return to work.