Charlie* was a 46-year-old man living in the family home in Fulham with his mother. His father had died 20 years ago. He was the only child and didn’t have many relatives, most of them having remained in St Lucia in the Caribbean. When his mother became ill, he was the one who took on the caring role and eventually left his job to become her full-time carer. They were a very private family, not wanting to involve too many people in their situation and he cared for his mother without help for 15 years.
The Former Carer Support Worker first met Charlie after he saw a leaflet for the project and got in touch. He was grieving, as his mother had sadly died three months before his Next Steps Assessment. He was upset, worried and very stressed. He was receiving eviction notices from the council has he was unable to pay the full rent on the property after the housing benefit stopped once his mother’s death was recorded. He had also been forced to move from Job Seekers Allowance onto Universal Credit. He agreed to take a loan from them to pay for the rent arrears that were rapidly accruing in order to stop the eviction process. He was also worried that the heating and electricity would be cut off as he had received quarterly bills in his mother’s name as was not able to pay them.
At the Next Steps Assessment an Action Plan was drawn up listing Charlie’s most pressing concerns and how we were going to address each one, with responsibility and time frames. Charlie’s actions were around sorting out his living and financial situation and helping with his emotional wellbeing, as he wanted to talk about his mother’s death with a professional.
Carers Network’s Advice Team arranged an appointment for Charlie with Citizens Advice Westminster, so he could receive specialist housing advice. He was also referred to Crosslights Debt Charity to help with the energy suppliers and telephone bill. He was also referred to the Talking Therapies service. With help from Citizens Advice Charlie approached the council and requested a succession of his mother’s tenancy. He was also advised to apply for the Housing Discretionary Payment which he did not know about.
For the first time, in a long time Charlies felt the pressure ease a little. He kept in regular contact with the Former Carers Support Worker attending monthly meetings adding further actions to his action plan as they arose. He started to attend the talking therapies sessions and was finally able to share some of his pain.
The Former Carers Support Worker also helped Charlie to complete his medical application for Employment Support as he was now quite unwell himself with mobility problems and is in a lot of pain. The Support Worker escorted him to his medical assessment for physical and emotional support and helped him through that process.
Initially Charlie was faced with eviction but with the help of the support worker they were able to argue it was a joint tenancy and he was granted succession of the tenancy. He was, however, required to move to a smaller 1 bedroom flat as the property was under-occupied.
Charlie was relieved that he was not going to be homeless, but he was still nervous. This had been his home since he was 8 years old and he was going to have to pack up all the memories and move on – whether he was ready or not.
Charlie’s relief soon turned to horror when he realised the huge task that lay ahead of him with the physically moving all the furniture and other things that had been collecting over the years. He had no help or assistance, no transport, no money, no family or friends. He lay awake at night worrying.
Charlie contacted his Support Worker and they arranged a meeting to look at charities and services that could help him with the move. They used the Turn2us Grant checker and applied to the Turn2us Response Fund after obtaining quotes from local removal companies. The application was processed quickly and within a few days Charlies received the news that he was successful. Not only did they agree to pay for the removal team, they also agreed to give Charlie another sum of money as a home start-up fund.
Last week the Support Worker attended a viewing of a lovely ground floor flat with Charlie. He has accepted this offer and, now that he knows he is not alone and he has enough money to move and make the place comfortable, he is ready to start to look forward again.
*We have changed names to maintain confidentiality