Emily Case Study
Emily who was 20 and had four children under 5 was a regular Portland Centre Client. We had been helping her with various problems, which she was slowly over-coming. It happened that she needed to sign a form urgently, so a Portland Centre Case Worker dropped into her home for the signature. What she saw horrified her, although Emily’s home was spotlessly clean and tidy (not easy with 4 very small children), there was black mould growing on every wall. Emily was very matter of fact about it, not realising that the mould explained why the children seemed to have constant chest infections.
When Emily next came into the Portland Centre, the Case Worker discussed the situation and with her permission, contacted the local authority to discuss moving the family to better accommodation. The answer was that because Emily was in arrears with her rent, she would not be offered alternate housing
That answer was not good enough! So the Portland Centre Case Worker started to sort out the problems that were causing Emily and her children to housed in sub-standard accommodation. She contacted Sure-Start, Shelter and Environmental Health for their advice and guidance on the next step. The problem was the arrears, so debt became the issue.
The Case Worker booked an appointment for Emily to see the Portland Centre Citizens Advice Bureau Advisor, who worked through her debts and made a Payplan arrangement to start taking control, with heavy emphasis on getting the rent arrears paid as quickly as possible.
Whilst the arrears were being paid, The Portland Centre Case Worker set up a Credit Union account for Emily, into which she paid a very small amount of money to save for a ‘deposit, first and last’ for a new home. When the arrears were paid and Emily was offered better accommodation, she still did not have deposit etc. so her Case Worker arranged for her to meet with a Credit Union Loans Officer, who helped her apply for an emergency loan at a much lower interest rate than the usual lenders, to pay her deposit.
A week later Emily and the children moved into their new home and did really well.
Two years later Emily, the children, who had grown and a number of suitcases turned up at the Portland Centre. They had been evicted, because the youngest child has found a lighter and set fire to the bedroom – the damage had been extensive. Happily the family were safe, but they had nowhere to go.
Once again the Portland Centre staff immediately started contacting the local authority to get temporary housing for the family. Now in short-term housing, Emily and the children needed a permanent home and so her Portland Centre Case Worker started the whole procedure off again. Within 2 months Emily and the children were re-housed.
All Emily had to do was to keep on top of her bills and carefully watch her budding arsonist!