*Joan had been a resident of one of our Independent Living schemes for many years. She had required some support initially but had since enjoyed a period of stability.
However, when her rent arrears started to build up, our Income Recovery team tried to make contact to find out why. Despite several attempts, the team were unable to reach Joan and further investigation revealed that she hadn't been seen at her flat for some time. With her rent arrears exceeding £1,000, the team had little choice but to serve notice of eviction. In the meantime, they asked one of our Tenancy Sustainability Officers, Rachel, to find out where Joan was. Having worked with her before Rachel was hopeful she could help and because of their previous relationship, managed to make contact with Joan.
Joan was a chronic alcoholic and having achieved 35 years sober, had started to relapse under the weight of her financial difficulties. She’d decided to book into a residential detox facility voluntarily to avoid a major relapse. Her focus on getting better meant that she had left her flat without attending to her financial commitments.
Knowing that Joan was proactively trying to get better, Rachel wanted to do everything she could to prevent her from losing her home. With a notice served, it was important to build a case quickly. She discovered Joan wasn’t claiming housing benefit and it was clear that she didn’t have the capacity to undertake an application independently, so Rachel set about making a claim on her behalf. An initial rejection was appealed and eventually Housing Benefit made a backdated payment which significantly reduced Joan’s arrears to a much more manageable £66.61.
An application for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was also made but would take several months to complete.
Rachel’s fast work in improving her income, combined with evidence of Joan’s own efforts to get better, enabled the Court to see that eviction would not be the best course of action. Our Income Recovery team agreed a small debt repayment through which Joan could manageably pay off her remaining arrears.
Rachel has since observed a really positive change in Joan, who is now engaging with her friends and neighbours. With the weight of her financial troubles lifted, it was clearly helping Joan to make a faster recovery.
We are pleased to report that the PIP application payment has since been awarded to Joan with a £2,500 backdate which will make a big difference to her quality of life.
We provide personal support through our Tenancy Sustainability team. If you have any concerns about paying your rent or your circumstances have recently changed, please Contact Us for a referral.