Customers Own Stories
We are told by new customers how good it is to read stories from people we have supported. It helps customers feel that they don't have unique problems and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Have you had support from our service? Would you like to share your story with others? Please let your Support Worker know and together we can bring hope, encouragement and inspiration to others.
Lee joined our support service with £2000 rent arrears, £1000 housing benefit debt and £800 council tax arrears. He was in a very vulnerable position and on the verge of being evicted.
The reason he was struggling was due to depression after losing his partner to cancer earlier in the year.
With support Lee set up affordable payment plans for these debts, charity grants were applied for and helped to prove to the landlord that he was committed to the tenancy and trying to sort things out.
In time Lee's new partner moved in with him. His new partner has a physical disability and needed Lee to look after her. With support from us Lee applied for Carers Allowance and since then has gone from strength to strength with facing his debts.
At the end of support, Lee is £100 in credit on his rent and in no danger at all of being made homeless. His debts are more than half of what they were and his mental health has significantly improved. He and his partner are getting married this year.
Lee said that he has been really happy with the support and happy to give feedback to stakeholders to tell his story.
Lauren was just 17 when she faced family breakdown and was made homeless. She was sleeping on her friends' sofa when she was referred to York Flexible Support Scheme. She moved into a council flat shortly afterwards. The flat was an empty shell with no carpets, curtains, and all walls and ceilings were in poor condition needing decorating.
She had no cooker, fridge or bed. The flat was not a dream move at all; however, it was a roof over her head. Lauren was in full time education and working at the weekend. Things were very difficult for her.
However, Lauren engaged very well with support and gradually things became better. We helped her to claim additional benefits that she was unaware she was entitled to. We also helped her to access grants and funding from organisations to be able to purchase a fridge, cooker, bed and other furniture. With the extra income of benefits she was able to redecorate, obtain curtains and other furnishings.
During the summer, Lauren worked full time which meant that she had to pay a considerable amount toward her rent. The amount she had to pay almost made it not worth working. We supported her to apply for discretionary housing benefit and she was successful so Lauren actually ended up in credit on her rent when she went back to college after the summer holidays.
To help with her college work we supported her with an application to the Princes Trust and they awarded her a laptop so she could keep up with others in her class and do assignments at home.
Lauren is in a much happier and healthier position and is grateful for the support she has received over the last year. She is confident now she is a secure council tenant and positive about the future.
Paul and Denise's story
Paul and Denise were referred to the scheme by their estate manager at the council. They were in serious rent arrears and also had some problems with their noisy neighbours. Following assessment, a support worker helped the couple to claim housing benefit and to set up a payment plan to clear their arrears. They worked closely with their support worker and their Estate Manager to resolve the neighbour problems.
The Support Worker also helped Paul and Denise get on education and training courses. We hope this will help them get jobs in the future.
Polish lady Ms K joined the service in Oct 2009 and was 15 weeks pregnant. She had problems with her existing accommodation and needed to move to a more suitable property before the baby was born. She also had issues with benefits and her right of registration. We have helped her to find a new built property which fully met her needs and have helped her access the relevant benefits. We helped her to claim the maternity help and benefits she is entitled to and we will assist in finding child care if required. She has been refused her residency card and we are supporting her in her reapplication.
Miss Z came into the service in December 2010 at the request of a referral made to Children and Families Services. Miss Z had come over from Poland, pregnant and with no entitlements to funding or benefits. She was staying with friends and associates within the area.
As a service we applied for child benefit for Miss Z and once received she was able to contribute some money to pay the friends she was staying with.
Miss Z commenced work with an agency in 2011 and as a result of being in work was able to apply for working and child tax credit which was successful.
Throughout the support journey we were able to support Miss Z to work with Children and Families and to keep them informed of developments throughout.
Miss Z has also been involved with the Customer Involvement Forum and has contributed to the Customer Working Group looking at policies
As a result of the support Miss Z received, Children and Families are happy with Miss Z's progress.
June /July 2011- Miss Z is viewing privately rented properties. She is still working has been back to Poland for a holiday with her son and is looking forward to moving into her own accommodation when possible.
Miss K, a 30 year old single female came to us in May 2010. She was pregnant (due Dec 10) and living in a 3 bedroom house with 3 other adults and one child. She was staying in a single bedroom with her brother and was sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
We worked with NELC Rent Assist Scheme and the Home Options Team to find Miss K more suitable housing. In Aug 2010, Miss K was served a notice to leave the property because of overcrowding. In partnership with the rent assist scheme we provided Miss K with a deposit for a new house and four weeks rent and after working closely with the home options team found Miss K a new suitable property which she moved into Sep 2010. Miss K has since given birth to a baby girl and is happy in her new home and is free from the treat of homelessness.
July 2011 - Miss K had indicated she would like a job in childcare or in a similar field. With the support of the service Miss K will shortly be starting as a volunteer at a local Sure Start centre. Miss K will be given training and a CRB check and will be able to gain valuable experience around working with children and hopefully gain employment within the area.
A Lithuanian single parent with four children accessed the service in November 2009 with benefits and housing issues. Whilst on service children came under child services as a ‘children in need' case due to the poor housing, lack of finances, issues with different adults collecting children from school and potential neglect. A Housing Support Worker worked with the customer, child services and school to arrange an appropriate, known adult was always collecting children from school when the parent could not. Also helped family move to better accommodation and receive full benefits. The family is now discharged from child services due to the progress they have made.
Mr B a Polish customer who came to the service in December 2009, having just moved into his own flat, having previously shared with friends and hadn't been in the country very long. Although he had obtained the flat he hadn't set up any of the utilities.
We signed the customer onto the service and helped him register for his utilities which then he found to be to expensive against his income. We also looked at his benefit entitlement and helped him claim for housing benefit, council tax benefit and working tax credit. The customer is now in receipt of all of these benefits with an extra weekly income of £290 per month so he is very happy.
The customer and Support Worker are now working on his English skills hoping to find him an ESOL class in the near future. The customer has now gone on to low level monthly support with a view to ending the service in 2010.
Mrs E a Polish national started the service in Feb 2010, wanted support with debt. A company claimed that Mrs E had not made any payment against an account. Mrs E stated that she had been paying through Direct Debit. Mrs E was asked by the Housing Support Worker to request bank statements from her bank for clarification. After a second support session Mrs E informed the Housing Support Worker that she had other debts.
Mrs E with support rang to arrange payment and payment plans were put in place.