Today’s “Little Thing” is brought to you by the letter U!
I’d like some. Please? Just a little. Mainly from the people who work at the council offices or those that make the policies. There’s very little Understanding around in the world of Homelessness Applications.
The staff I have dealt with don’t seem to understand that this is effecting us. This isn’t a pleasant place to be (not the house – just the situation) It really does make a difference when people don’t call when they say they will. It really is hard not knowing what is happening when it comes to you providing a stable home for your children. For the most part I’ve been met with indifference, annoyance and the general air of “be lucky you’re even getting this” I don’t think I come across as ungrateful. I thank each and every person for their time. I have started many conversations stating “I know it’s not your fault but….” It doesn’t seem to make a difference though. The people I deal with are burnt out by the looks of it. Seen and heard it all before: compassion about how my children are coping is certainly not in their job description and something they probably used up a long time ago.
On Friday I was just about to get to my mums house when I got a call from the temporary housing department. It went something like this:
HO: Hello is this *homelessmummy*?
HO: I’m just ringing to find out why you aren’t at the property for your viewing..?
ME: Er… what property? What viewing?
HO: You had an appointment at 11am? My colleague is waiting there for you now…
ME: I didn’t know anything about this. I have no idea at all….
HO: You should have got a hand delivered letter…
ME: Oh, well I didn’t…
HO: Where are you now?
ME: *several towns over* at my mums house. I didn’t know anything about a viewing.
HO: Ok – well I have to get in touch with my colleague and tell her you aren’t coming. I will get her to call you back.
I was pretty perplexed. I didn’t even think to ask what the property was or where it was!
They didn’t call back. I spent the afternoon meeting with my daughters teachers and had no numbers with me to call them back. By the time I tried, the office was closed.
But things were further confused by the email I found when I got home. My usual Housing Officer had emailed shortly after the call saying he was just getting around to looking at my application but couldn’t process it until he’d seen a copy of proof of child benefit. So, who had sent my application onto the temporary housing team? Someone must have approved it or we’d not be viewing a property surely?
So the weekend was spent waiting for Monday morning when I could find out exactly what was happening. Were we moving? Had our homelessness application been processed? I cleaned and packed up a few things ready and pretty much mused over where we might be in a few days time – see, some Understanding would have been good here!
And now Monday is here. And I sat watching the clock from 5.30 am until I could call the office.
And I eventually got through via a couple of wrong department diversions. I spoke to a rather ‘helpful’ man who possessed little Understanding as to why I was calling. Could I not just wait for them to call me? He was sure they would call me back today. He questioned why I hadn’t arranged another time for the viewing (in a Passive Aggressive way) and I pointed out the person I had spoken to had put the phone down in a hurry to inform her colleague she could leave the property and I was promised a call back (in a surprisingly un Passive Aggressive way). Then he said that both people who could deal with my case were away from the office today. But they may still call me back.
This guy had no Understanding as to why I’d seek out this information. I explained we’d been sat not knowing all weekend. I said I was just keen to know instead of waiting all day… Who wouldn’t want to know where and when you might be moving right? Yes it was probably just a simple office mix up but it meant a weekend of concern for me.
But I did get an address. And he said it was a very nice property.
But really, some Understanding on how this whole process is effecting real peoples lives would be nice. Just a little bit would do.
And as an aside, U also stands for Unicorn. Which is a mythical creature. Much like the sympathetic, Understanding Housing Officer.
ps – if I do get this place, it’s in a nice area. The school run will be 2 buses still but about half the journey time wise so it’s a plus. We’ll see though. Won’t actually count on this until the keys are in my hands.