A 7-year success story
Stuart from our Money Advice Services:
“R was my first service user when I started working at ACT in July 2013. He had just been housed following a period of street homelessness, due to a breakdown of his marriage, and he was now estranged from his daughter who stayed living with her Mother.
When I first met R he had no income due to being unemployed, his benefits had been stopped and he was unable to pay bills, including his rent, as he had just taken on a new tenancy with a social housing provider. He did not want to be evicted and live on the street again.
I supported R to apply for Job Seekers’ Allowance and was able to get his housing benefit back in payment, and a council tax reduction. I also assisted him to produce a CV and printed copies for him; he was then able to visit employment agencies to seek work.
Outcome: R stayed in his home, was not evicted and not homeless and now had money to pay for food and bills. Over £9000 of benefit income.
I also wrote to his Daughter c/o his previous family home, as he wanted to remain in contract with her. He did not receive a reply as he believed his estranged wife had turned her against him.
2014/ 2015 R had got into rent arrears and I applied for a Discretionary Housing payment (DHP) – this was declined but agreed on appeal.
Outcome: R stayed in home, not evicted and not homeless due to an award of £1051.
December 2015 I applied for a Discretionary Financial Award (DFA) as R was unable to pay his council tax which was going to enforcement.
Outcome: DFA awarded £521
November 2016, R had previously held an SIA license which he needed to work as a security guard, but this had now expired and he had no funds to renew it. I applied for a Ropes Trust grant and for funds from the ACT Empowerment Fund. I also assisted R to apply for, and obtain, his SIA license.
Outcome: obtained £220 funded license now renewed and now able to work full time.
I wrote another letter to his Daughter c/o his previous family home. No response.
2016. R obtained a part time job, and when I saw his P60 he had paid too much tax, I wrote to HMRC and obtained him a tax rebate of.
Outcome: £1066 obtained for R.
November 2019 I was contacted by social services stating that R’s ex-wife had died and they found the letters I wrote to his daughter L. His ex-wife had kept them but not passed them onto L. I wrote to L and enclosed copies of the letters he had written, attempting to contact her. They met up and spent time over Christmas together.
Outcome: long lost family reunited.
2020. R had a court fine and 3 penalty points on his license, for speeding. His fine was increased to £569 and an extra point for not sending his license to DVLA. I wrote to the court to appeal as I believed this to be a miscarriage of justice. Thankfully the Magistrate agreed with me.
Outcome: fine reduced by £477 and 1 penalty point reduction.
Summary: Whilst we were in the court waiting room recently, I pointed out to R how far he had travelled on his journey with ACT in the last 7 years I had worked with him. When we met in 2013 he was at risk of eviction, he had no income, no benefits, no car, no contact with his daughter and no real prospect of work. Now, he was employed full time, he was no longer at risk of eviction, he now had a car, sufficient money for food and bills, and he was in regular contact with his daughter.
Over the years of our support he was paid over £9,000 per year income from benefits, received several food parcels, £500 of grant funding, assisted to get a job, reduction in a court fine and help to reunite him with his estranged daughter. DHP and DFA payments of over £1,500.
I calculate the money awarded or obtained as approximately £40,000 since 2013, plus now R has the independence of a full time job, and a friendship with his daughter … priceless!