Forfutures helps Edward*, who was about to be evicted, keep his home and turn his life around

Our forfutures team, which provides homeless support services across Cheshire West and Chester, recently worked with Edward to stop him being evicted from his home, reduce his debts and get him on the right track for a brighter future.

David Routledge, Homelessness Prevention Worker, first met Edward in April 2019 whilst he was receiving treatment at the Countess of Chester Hospital after being found by police in the city centre in a confused state.

He was referred to the forfutures homeless prevention team as he was facing being evicted from his home on 1st May 2019, due to rent arrears of more than £2,000.

David supported Edward to get legal advice from a solicitor, including providing proof of benefits for legal aid, so that the eviction was stopped.

David then helped Edward to review and take control of his finances.

This included applying for and securing a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to cover his rent arrears.

This was awarded due to Edward’s vulnerability, including a history of mental health issues and alcohol dependency which meant housing benefit should never have been paid to him directly. David helped ensure an alternative payment arrangement for his benefits was set up, to help ensure Edward’s rent was paid on time in future and no further rent arrears built up.

When it became clear that Edward was struggling with other financial issues, David arranged some specialist debt help from Citizens Advice. They managed to clear all his water arrears, set up an affordable payment plan with TV Licencing and arranged a council tax reduction.

David worked with Edward’s solicitor to arrange a psychiatric assessment, to look at his understanding of finances and the courts process. The psychiatric report identified that Edward has difficulty understanding financial and legal matters because of his mental health problems.

Following other assessments, further benefits were secured for Edward, and David supported Edward at various court appearances and helped him keep his home, avoid eviction and gain more financial stability for the future.

Sanctuary Housing, Edward’s landlord now receive direct payments paid on his behalf by Universal Credit, along with all service charges. As long as this continues, Edward will be able to remain in his home.

Edward has been introduced to the Chester Hub Service for any other support he may need to keep a roof over his head and manage his home going forward.

David said; “When I met Edward he was particularly vulnerable and about to lose his home. I’ve worked with him for around 4 months and in that time we’ve really turned his situation around. He’s secure and feeling more settled in his home, especially now that he’s received a washing machine and cooker through the Cheshire West and Chester HELP Scheme, which offers emergency assistance on a case by case basis for people in need in the local area.

“I’ve signposted Edward to the New Leaf programme, which supports people from across Cheshire to move closer to employment, to gain some basic IT skills and promote further independence.

“At forfutures we’re dedicated to preventing homelessness as we’ve managed to do with Edward. We would encourage anyone at risk of homelessness to get in touch with us.”

Edward said; “I can’t thank David and the team enough for their help. I don’t know where I’d be now if it wasn’t for his support with sorting out my debt and benefits. I’m feeling much more settled in my home and more positive about the future.”

*Name changed to protect the identity.