Wycombe Homeless Connection, what do they really do?
One of the most vulnerable groups in our society throughout the Covid-19 crisis has been the homeless. Whilst the government has done a huge amount to help them through the lockdown, this support is coming to an end and so the challenges for the homeless will become heightened.
With our long history of supporting Wycombe Homeless Connection (WHC) we are fortunate to see what they do on a daily basis to help those without homes and those at risk of losing homes. However, many people do not fully understand what they do so we wanted to share a story with you that will help show the work they do and the people they help.
This is the story of ‘J’, a grandmother who very nearly lost her home, but has secured a safe home now with their help and managed to get out of debt and is no longer accruing any more debt. It’s a story about the homeless prevention work they do and expect to do even more of as the coronavirus-related eviction ban comes to an end in a few months.
J was sharing her home with her son and caring for her daughter’s child who spent time living with his mum and J, his grandmother. Only one of them was allowed to get support for a bedroom for the child. Even though her grandson stayed with J a lot she wasn’t seen as the primary carer, so her housing benefit was reduced and her rental debt started to mount up.
The tragic death of her son left her caring for her grandchild alone and living in what was cruelly deemed ‘oversized accommodation’.
J and her grandchild were now at risk of being evicted from their home when she got in touch with WHC.
J found out about WHC and went to their housing legal advice drop-in clinic where they immediately called on the expertise of the housing benefit expert we work with. With their help, J applied for a grant to cover her rent shortfall to stop debt building up in the short term. J worked with their expert and the local authority, applying for a one-off payment to cover her rent arrears. The authority agreed to consider the payment but only if J could find a smaller home.
WHC then spent many, many hours helping J find a smaller home. It was very hard because there is a severe lack of suitable social housing. But WHC were able to help J find a new, affordable home. The local authority then agreed to clear her debt. Best of all she is no longer getting into any more rental debt!
J and her grandchild moved into her new home a week before the coronavirus lockdown began and are now happy – as are WHC!
For anyone in housing difficulty they can get housing legal advice and support from WHC online and over the phone as their drop-in is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. People who believe they are at risk can also call the WHC homelessness prevention hotline on 01494 447699 Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm or contact us online www.wyhoc.org.uk/contact
This story is a great illustration of the work that WHC do and hopefully shows why we are keen to support them. If you would like to find out more about our work with WHC or any of the other charities we support contact us.