Part of our role is regrettably evicting clients when requested by the local authority if they do not engage with the move on process from our temporary accommodation. We were asked to evict a single parent family with three small children as the mother had failed to engage with the council regarding her housing situation on numerous occasions.The eviction noticed was due to be enforced with 24 hours after giving the client the appropriate notice to obtain alternative housing.
There were many calls made to the client explaining the seriousness of the situation and what steps she could take to appeal the council’s decision. The client failed to take notice of any advice she was given. The afternoon before the eviction the client came into the office to get copies of letters that had previously been sent to her that she kept stating that she had not received.
After speaking to the client and enforcing the seriousness of the situation, she soon began to understand that she would be street homeless with her children within 20 hours if she could not find alternative accommodation, which was extremely unlikely. We had to advise her that if she was street homeless with the children, we had a duty to report this to Social Services which could result in the children being placed in foster care until she could find alternative suitable accommodation.
By using opening questions and empathising with the client, she began to trust us and opened up about the issues that she was facing. These issues included her fleeing an abusive relationship, the breakdown of the relationship with her mother and also severe mental health issues resulting in paranoia, panic attacks and depression. There was no GP involvement and she was not medicated as when she had moved to her temporary accommodation property the GP refused to see her as she was out of the catchment area and she didn’t feel mentally ready to register at a new practice.
We spoke to the Manager in Housing Options and explained our concerns with regards to the situation and how we felt that with the right support the client could turn things around. Due to the excellent relationship Calon has with Housing Options and the fact that the we all work together to house people in temporary accommodation so that they can successfully move on to permanent housing, it was agreed that the eviction would be cancelled, providing the client engaged with tenancy support.
The client was informed of the good news and asked to come back into the office the following morning so that appropriate support referrals could be submitted. By asking the client to return, we felt that this would be her first test in engaging with other agencies and after the stress of the impending eviction, make her realise how close she had come to becoming street homeless and possibly loosing her children.
We’re pleased to report that the client did turn up, on time and looking and feeling so much more positive about things. A referral was submitted that day for support and we talked about how to prevent this occurring again and how important it was to ask for help when you need it.