Well, I didn’t. But now I do.
I want to use this blog as a way to chart my progress through the mess that is the current homeless system.
This is a small catch up post and I will address some of the issues in separate more detailed posts too.
My little family currently live in a private rented property. We have been here for 3 years now and are happy and settled within our little community. Life was good. My children were happy. They were getting ready to start Secondary school and nursery and I was in the process of applying to university. Our life was on track.
Then one simple envelope caused chaos. I had been served a section 21 notice and had two months to find us somewhere else to live.
Not wanting to panic, I had a look at the local property to let. I was happy to find quite a lot of choice. All hundreds of pounds more expensive then where I currently was but I was optimistic. Until I checked out the Local Housing rate. According to my council website I would be able to claim £950 a month for rent as my two children were entitled to separate bedrooms due to age and gender.
That seems like a lot of money and I have always been grateful for this help but I’ve never been happy just to sit back and accept benefits and have worked to change my circumstances – hence my application to University – so that one day I could stand on my own two feet. I feel lucky that I can get this help whilst I am putting together my life and future. I have no problems with the amount – other then the fact that is doesn’t come close to the £1100 plus rents being asked locally.
But looking through the websites and local property sections I could see it would be hard to find something in that area. I would need to top up my rent which would leave me short of money but we needed somewhere to live…. But this was not the first thing that was worrying me. Every property I looked at said “No DSS”
3 years ago when I looked for this place some Landlords were not accepting Housing Benefit claimants but there was still choice. Now its a huge blanket ban. I’ve made hundreds of calls. As soon as you mention the Benefits they say no. Twice I’ve had agents simply put the phone down on me before the words were completely out of my mouth! Not one person was willing to meet me and judge my character first. The situation is complicated by the fact that I don’t have a UK based guarantor so I know this has also been a factor.
After a couple of weeks looking I did start to feel hopeless. I had put in a social housing application and been placed in the lowest band – my only need being assessed as a lack of one extra bedroom. The section 21 didn’t mean anything here and I needed to speak to a different department. I found myself in a band with over 3000 over applicants.
So it’s looking grim and I have started facing the possibility of becoming homeless with my children. And that is where I am today. Still looking, Still bidding and trying hard to stay positive in the face of my local authorities homelessness policies….