Nov 29, 2018
We were approached to help a woman who following a relationship breakdown found herself homeless. She also had recently lost her expected baby which had had a huge impact on her mental health. She was taken in and supported by a refuge then finally a flat was found for her to move into. Her benefits payments have been impacted resulting in her not receiving her payments one month, which caused her to fall into arrears with her rent. Our agents are helping her to apply for a discretionary housing payment and to get her rent arrears sorted. We agreed that we would send her £30 as a moral boost and to allow her to get some groceries in.
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.
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 10, 2018
Today we were asked to help a mum, mother of two children, one in her late teens who has a learning disability and a nine year old. She is in debt, which is aggravating her anxiety and depression as she feels she can't see any way out. She is having problems with her payments and is currently without any money, due to her rent payments being over the threshold for housing benefit so she has to find the shortfall somehow, which she is struggling to do. She is not due another benefits payment until the end of this month and currently is without money for food, etc. We agreed to send her £100 to last her until her next benefits payment. Our agents are going to support her with budgeting and applying for a discretionary housing payment.
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.
Nov 9, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a young man in his twenties. He has been having difficulties with claiming Universal Credit which has left him £1,000 in arrears. He is due in court later this month to deal with this. To try to save up so he can clear some of the arrears, he has been managing without using any of his gas throughout the summer months. This though has left him with a service charge debt, resulting in his gas being capped. As it is now getting quite cold he is struggling without any heating, but they won't remove the cap without him clearing the debt of £65, which we agreed to pay on his behalf.
Jul 28, 2017
Our agent contacted us about a woman who frustrated with the lack of support in her area took it upon herself to fight her alcohol addiction. Doing this on her own meant that she missed an appointment with the Job Centre so they sanctioned her. This meant that her rent and council tax support also stopped being paid, the result of which is that she now faces eviction due to arrears of £320. As she was so ill due to the alcohol detoxing she was unable to seek support until now. Our agent has intervened on her behalf and sought assurance that if £200 could be raised would she be certain of being able to remain in her home. They will try to get some help with the rest from the council as it should have been possible for her to submit a nil income form to the council and have her rent and council tax covered, which would have prevented the arrears. We agreed to send over the money needed to allow her to keep her home. We didn't want to have her back out on the streets again, where it would be highly likely she'd be tempted by alcohol again, given how hard she has worked so far to get herself off it.
Jan 26, 2017
We were told of a couple, who'd recently had to move home after they had been subject to being stalked. Since moving, the wife had been fortunate enough to find work but the work was very intermittent. Her husband is disabled and unable to work, and because his wife is working he is unable to claim any out of work benefits to help them. Following the move of home they'd fallen into arrears with their rent. An agency are helping the husband apply for Personal Independence Payment, and would also see if it might be possible for them to apply for a discretionary housing payment (these though are very hard to be awarded, and looked at on a case by case basis by the local authority.) We agreed as a group to arrange for £100 to be sent to the couple to help relieve some of the worry regarding the arrears.
It is not just people that aren't working that are struggling financially, it is also those in employment, but where their hours of work are not regular enough for them to make any plans, rely on them or even meet their basic living requirements.
Jan 15, 2017
Our agent contacted us with an urgent case of a man currently in a homeless shelter. He has an injury which makes walking difficult, but even so was at risk of being evicted as he had a debt owing for rent from last May. He'd already had three warnings over this, and 28 days notice to quit. We agreed to cover the cost of this to prevent him being evicted out into the cold again, especially with an infected foot. The money was paid directly to our agent for safeguarding until the debt could be cleared early next week. The shelter were so impressed that we were able to step in and resolve this problem so quickly.