Project provides critical support to save Newport man from homelessness

The Wales Co-operative Centre is currently running its fourth annual Tackling Poverty Fortnight campaign.

The campaign will demonstrate a number of ways in which the Centre is helping to reduce poverty through the projects it runs, the businesses and organisations it supports and the people who are the end beneficiaries of that support.

Today we look at one example of the work that has been supported by ‘Your Money, Your Home’, a Wales Co-operative Centre project which provides advice and guidance to Private Rented Sector (PRS) tenants in Wales, and prepares people for the introduction of Universal Credit.

It helps PRS tenants at risk of homelessness due to money problems to:

  • Take control of their finances to retain their home or secure more suitable accommodation
  • Access appropriate financial services enabling them to manage their money and their lives better
  • Understand that credit unions are a key tool to manage their money better and have access to sign up to their local credit union
  • Access the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit for support

One of the people supported by ‘Your Money, Your Home’ is Christopher, a young man living in the PRS in Newport. Following a visit, it emerged that Christopher had been homeless for some time and was previously sleeping in his car. He had recently been made redundant, had to sell the car and was placed in a bedsit. It also emerged that he was progressing through a court case to have access to his young daughter who was residing with his ex-partner.

The property itself was in a very poor condition, with damp and a broken window. Environmental Health was involved in the case but, to date, the landlord has not progressed the repair of either the window or the damage caused by damp in the property. The tenant explained that his housing situation was bringing him down; he felt trapped in such a confined unhealthy space and it also prevented him from accessing his daughter, as it was an unsuitable environment for such a young child. He also explained that due to restricted benefits, including Housing Benefit (because of his age), he was now in arrears with his rent as he could not afford the top up amount. His landlord had informed him that he would be evicted if these arrears were not cleared. This threat of homelessness again exacerbated his anxiety over his current circumstances.

Following discussions with Christopher, it was decided to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to assist with the immediate threat of eviction, by helping to clear the arrears and help out with the rent top up. Christopher was awarded a DHP.

Following support from ‘Your Money, Your Home’, Christopher was called three months later. He revealed that he had since left the property and had been staying with a friend. When this failed he presented as homeless again. However, this time he was able to secure a tenancy on a one bedroom flat with a housing association. As the accommodation is more appropriate he will be able to have access to his daughter. He is currently looking for work and feeling much happier about his prospects.

You can follow the Tackling Poverty Fortnight on Twitter @WalesCoopCentre and through the hashtag #PovertyInWales.


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