Jan 16, 2019
Our clients asked us if we could help a man who was in a large amount of debt regarding his rent. The amount we were asked to help with was far too high for us, we help with things like food and fuel (gas and electric). The man in question is a recovering alcoholic and is doing everything he can to stay off the alcohol and our contact is satisifed with his progress. He was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance but lost that in May 2018. The decision was appealed against, but again this was not successful. These breakdowns in benefits payments have had a negative impact on his housing benefit, hence the rent arrears. We offered him the best we could which is £100 towards fuel and food, and hope that he is able to work with his housing provider to avoid being evicted from his property.
Jul 26, 2018
Our agents approached us about a young family, the mother is 27, has two small children and is expecting her third. Her partner is an asylum seeker and his case was rejected late last year and he is waiting for an appeal. In the meantime, their local authority have refused to pay housing benefit because he is currently living with them, as he is the father of the children, and has nowhere to go and cannot receive any financial assistance whatsoever. Tax Credits have now suspended her payments as they are aware that her partner is living with her, so the whole family are existing on £34.40 per week, to cover all their food, bills, etc. Her baby is due at the end of this year and she is unable to work as she has a bad back, so she is unable to get a job to help them out, and he cannot work as he doesn't have a National Insurance number. She has been issued with a notice of intention to seek possession by her landlord over rent arrears. They have been given food vouchers to help them out, but even these are now running out. We agreed to send them £125 to keep them in food at least, and it will hopefully allow enough time to get this mess resolved and get the housing benefit back into payment.
May 30, 2018
Our contact asked us to help a single man that they housed last year. As part of his arangement he was to pay towards the £500 deposit each week, meaning he didn't have to find it all at once. He has suffered a family breavement, a relationship breakup, as well as losing his job in December, so has been struggling as his mental health has been poor. Due to a shortfall in his housing benefit he has fallen into arrears with his rent. Our contact has applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment from his local council, which has been awarded for a short while, this will cover the housing benefit shortfall. He has been served with a Section 21 notice regarding his home situation, but that notice has now expired. He needs to find the money to cover the rest of the deposit in order to remain in his property. His landlord has been supportive now that our contact is on board and trying to help him resolve the situation. We agreed we would send over £150 to go towards the deposit, which we are told will help appease the landlord, and keep the threat of eviction at bay.
May 28, 2018
We were asked to help a single man who is seriously struggling to manage financially, on top of suffering with mental health issues. He is in debt with his landlord and has been giving extra money to them, leaving himself without money for food. Our agents suspect there is an issue with this man's housing benefit, which they are hoping to be able to resolve, however the stress of the money owed to his landlord has resulted in him self-harming, and our agent was on the phone to him waiting on an ambulance to take him to A&E, while we were reviewing his case. We agreed to send him £60 to allow him to buy some food and top his phone up a little, as this is his link to the outside world.
Apr 3, 2018
In this case we have a mother of four adult children. After deductions from her benefits because she has four adults living with her, she is left with not enough to live off and cover their bills. One adult child works and helps her out, two others are in receipt of benefits themselves and give her a small amount each week. The youngest has mental health issues and is struggling to claim benefits for themself, so that they could offer some contribution to the household budget. The mother has been getting increasingly into debt, and has been advised to submit an application for a debt relief order, which she needed help in applying for. We agreed to pay the £90 fee.
Apr 3, 2018
The request for help came on behalf of a young man that after deductions are taken from his benefits has £130 per month to live off, to buy food, pay for heat and electric and cover all his bills. This is not enough, and he is in arrears with his rent because of a shortfall in housing benefit because of the bedroom tax. He is going without heat and food to try to stay above water financially. His advisor has instructed him to apply for a Debt Relief Order, but this costs £90 and he can't afford to live, let alone raise that much money. So his advisers approached us and asked if we would be prepared to make the payment for him. They said that this would be life changing for him, so we agreed we would be happy to help.
Oct 18, 2017
We were approached by our agents who have recently begun supporting a single man who has been sofa surfing for the past six years, staying with friends and family. He has most recently been staying with a friend in a one bedroomed flat, but the friend has now expressed his need for our client to leave. Our agents have managed to find him suitable accommodation, but in order to be able to move in he needs some help with the deposit and the admin fee. He does not have any savings and the only possessions he owns are his clothes.
He needed £50 to cover the admin fee and the deposit is £400. We agreed we would send across £200 to help him, £50 for the admin fee and £150 towards the deposit. The landlorad has said that he can pay the remainder of the deposit over the next six months.
Sep 1, 2017
This is a very sad case, a vulnerable couple, she 52, him 47, both suffering with health condition, wsere forced to leave their home following threats of violence. They literally left with what they could carry and have been living in a tent in a farmers field. Someone took pity on them, and suggested they stay in their home while they were away on holiday. They found a flat, and a landlord who was prepared to accept housing benefit payments, but then there was a problem in that their previous landlord was refusing to give them a reference. They finally found a landlord who was happy to work with them, understanding and sympathetic to their plight and they move into their new place early next week. We agreed to pay £100 towards their deposit.
Jun 24, 2017
Our agents approached us about a young woman, just 20 years old, who has severe mental health problems which prevent her from leaving her home. Due to this, she failed to attend a work capability assessment and subsequently her Employment Support Allowance has now stopped being paid. The knock on from this is that then her housing benefit and council tax relief was also stopped, resulting in her falling into quite serious debt. The agents are helping her with getting her benefits payments reinstated, and hopefully will be able to get the arrears on the housing benefit and council tax resolved. We agreed to send across £100 so that food could be bought for herr as she is currently without any food at all.
May 12, 2017
We were urgently approached about a lady who was under threat of losing her home. She was employed in a very low income job, but following her brother's suicide she had been unable to work. Her doctor has signed her off work for the time being, and she had put a claim in for sickness benefit, but was waiting for that to be actioned. In the meantime her landlord was pushing to repossess her home. We agreed to send across £250 directly to the landlord which was an agreed amount that would prevent things being taken further. Hopefully her claim for housing benefit will be in place soon and with the arrears caught up it will allow her a chance to try to recover from what has happened.
May 24, 2014
Gosh, it’s been a while since we wrote one of these! While we’ve not been writing, though, we’ve not been idle.
Here is a story from each month this year so far that touched our hearts.
Mrs W’s son had his JSA sanctioned – because he had just been diagnosed with cancer and missed an appointment, despite calling them beforehand to explain that he couldn’t attend. Sadly his cancer spread and, on advising the job centre that he was now receiving intensive chemotherapy, they took him off JSA and said he wasn’t entitled to anything else, leaving him with nothing for over a month – over Christmas, no less. He was later helped to fill in an ESA claim, which was still pending when we found his mum. We gave him £120 to tide him over until his income was reinstated, as well as offering our usual practical support.
Ms S, a disabled lady on basic benefits who was very good at budgeting them, fell foul of an internet scam, which took funds from her bank account without permission (we asked for more details, and this was something any one of us could have been taken in by). The bank were looking into it, with a view to refunding her in time, but her bills were about to go out by direct debit the next day, leaving her overdrawn with bank charges on top if that happened. She had already gotten excellent advice on fraud and contacting the bank from friends, so we sent her £100 to cover the shortfall in her bank, with a little extra to show that not everyone on the internet is a bad egg.
D was sanctioned for not doing enough on his work search. He was actually doing more than the law requires. His girlfriend W suffered the same fate the following month. Because they didn’t know about the nil declaration for Housing Benefit (and no-one at the Job Centre bothered to tell them) they fell into £1500 rent arrears with the threat of court. W was terrified of court and brought to tears by the thought of it. One of our agents assisted with the Nil income housing benefit claim, which cleared most of the rent arrears. We gave them a gift to clear the rest in full.
Mr J, a disabled man with a young child, was found fit for work. His ESA was stopped, leaving him and his son with only £20 a week to live on. We sent him £100 so he and his son could be well fed for a few weeks. Another good job jobbed.
Ms D was very concerned that her son, who has mental health problems and physical disabilities, would join the ever growing list of suicides linked to welfare reform. His ESA was stopped for over a month and a reconsideration turned him down, saying his conditions did not qualify, even though he was often unable to care for himself and suffered from hallucinations and delusions. We put him in touch with practical help, and gave a gift of £200 to assist with a backlog of bills and rent that were stacking up, giving him some space to get the help he needs, and his mum some peace of mind.