Category Archives: Homelessness

Moving On!

I have decided to write my way through the next few weeks, as I prepare to move home and move back toLondon.  I wanted to catalogue the things that have to be done and how I believe miracles are going to happen, to move me on.

The past almost 3 years, I have been living in what can only be described as one of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen in my life.  It is stunning.  I used to drive past here 3 times a week on my way to therapy.  I would sit in the traffic every morning looking at this house thinking, God, I would love to live in that house, and now, I sit writing this looking at the passing traffic………..it is amazing.  Little did I know that the people who live here were hoping that somone would rent the property that they would get to know. This was all happening around 2008/2009 and I moved in here on 1st Oct, 2009 after everything had been brought to a head in my old property and I had decided, wth the help of a friend that enough was enough and I had to move out!!

We were made homeless because the council had absolutely nothing to offer me, and private landlords are not happy to have people who are living on Housing Benefit, so we were truely stuck.  My son was moving to London, and I was so mentally unwell I was on my way to re-hab for six months.

I prayed and prayed and had a dream about setting up a company called Addicts4Addicts, at this time I had absolutely no idea what to do about this, but the vision was there.  Today I have a business plan with it in it and am in the process of moving things on, all being well.

We were selling all my jewellery on ebay to buy food, we were scratching around for all we could find and counting the coppers all around the house. Then a friend very kindly offered to give my son and I our deposits so we could move on with our lives, and before I knew it I found a wonderful landlord who had absolutely no problem at all with me being on welfare and who gave me a beautiful home, which has been my refuge for the past 3 years.

Now, we are moving, the house I have been renting is selling and I have decided that I want to take this opportunity to move back to London. I left 26 years ago, to move to Hong Kong, then Portugal then Bristol and then Surrey, where we have been for the past 19 years………….it is time for me to go back, to the place that I call home.

So, this is the situation.  I am currently living on Housing Benefits and Income Support and sickness allowance, due to my Mental ill health, which I am hoping and praying will slowly improve as it has been a really tough year.  I have not heard from the estate agent since I told them I am living on Housing Benefit and so not sure what will come next.

I have been told that most landlords do not like to have people on welfare renting from them because some Councils tell them to stay there, even thought their tenancy has run out, that they can stay there and wait to be evicted………or, as another one told me, we advise people to lie to landlords, otherwise they will not be housed. So, this is my dilema and so I have decided to write about it.

I am 52 years old, I have a degree in film-making, which I absolutely love and I am planning on somehow, as I get better, to work in that field, never give up on your dreams they say!! I am extremely grateful for the welfare, having lived in countries where there is none. I would so appreciate any help with the move back to London.  I need to be out of here by the 29th August. So, lets see what happens. Please pray and keep your ears and eyes open for any opportunity. I almost got caught up in a huge scam last weekend, but I still believe in the good and putting it out there to God and the Universe. I am looking for a beautiful, either one bedroom or large studio appartment in SW London. I am so hoping one day I will be in the position to buy again, it feels wierd going back having lost everything in the 1989 crash.  I have just never managed to date to get back on the ladder.

Last week my main concern was finding another address for my currently rather dormant company and my tax returns and an accountant to do them………within hours this was sorted and we are just waiting for that to tie up. I have done a couple of car boots to get rid of my stuff and made a huge decision when getting rid of a few very important things. I also burnt loads of old bills and paper together with old bank statements………….it felt so good!

I have finally, after 26 years and 11 months, given away the contents of my maternity case.  Boy that was painful………I realise that it is time to let it all go.  I feel better for it. And as I embark on all the rest of it, papers, diaries, address books of people who have moved so many times from there, I realise I have been stuck in the past, distressed and traumatised by many things and now, I am slowly and very painfully letting it go…………and I am grateful.

I was talking with someone yesterday who told me the most beautiful story of her life and how everything has eventually been restored, it has given me so much hope, in the middle of chaos, it is all going to be alright, I just have to keep doing the work, be brave enough to let go and trust God to provide me with so much more than I could ever imagine.

Todays task is finishing my bedroom, so I have all I need in a suit case, the rest into boxes ready to go to storage…….the process is slow, but who knows how much I will eventually keep…….what do I really need and what is actually just ready to be let go of?

Middle Classes could be forced to live on the Streets……….according to the Mail online

Wow, I remember something similar years ago now, when the madness of increasing the interest rates, forcing people out of their homes into shelters or to council offices to find housing, only to be put up in another house and be paid far more than the mortage of their old house to stay there………………what!!! It is insane how this works.  This article is facinating. For some reason it is not ok for the Housing Benefit to pay your mortage, but ok for it to pay someone else’s…………how does that work?

The thinking is madness. I am a simple person and sometimes I think that is good, things are not so complicated and it just does not make sense. If someone has a breakdown for example, they can loose their job, then their home, their family everything, then what? Things need to change. Ordinary people, people loose jobs, loose homes, loose everything and then they are treated like shit, instead of sympathy, love and support, compassion to help them along the way.  Very few people actually want to be in the situation, the resources are stretched and surely it would make sense to sort it out at the level of the interest rates? It is not rocket science.

I know from personal experience the horrors of loosing everything and how that erodes the soul, well it did mine, and trying to get out and up again is a battle on a daily basis and one that some just are not capable to take on.

Help the Homeless

They say that most people are only two pay checks away from being homeless, maybe it would have been good to mentioned that when the Estate Agent looked down her nose at me after I said I was on Housing Benefit!

I did not have a deposit,so therefore my choices were limited to what the housing benefit either had or would pay for and believe me there was nothing around that was habitable. I could only rent a place for one now my son was old enough to leave home, the devastation of this was too much for me. I could not help but wonder what the hell had happened to the young girl, the me who brought her own flat in Fulham and if it had gone the other way would have been mortage free by now! I slowly began to collapse emotionally, not able to pack, unable to function and looking at places that were so disgusting, cold, damp, dark and stark reminders of how far down the social strata I had gone.

This all began  two years ago today when I was given notice to quit a home I had lived in for 9 years.  I was living on welfare, my mental health was at an all time low and I was struggling to pay the bills.  My son and I were selling what we could on e-bay to cover the basic costs of things and I remember one day, he was offered an opportunity in London and we just managed to get him there by me selling a watch and a friend giving us some money.

After two weeks of him being on work experience, sleeping on a friends floor and barely able to afford the train fare to make the most of this internship he was offered, which was unpaid, I had no money to buy milk and sugar for him when he arrived home.  As I sat there counting the coppers I had found around the house to go and buy some milk, a friend rang, saying she felt she needed to ring me, I told her what the problem was and she said get over here and I will help you.  Fortunately I still had enough petrol in my car to get to her house.  She handed me an envelope with £200.00 pounds in it and that helped us through the next few weeks and helped my son get back to London to work for another week to help get him into the career he was desperate to follow.

A few months before this time, a friend had suggested I saw her husband for accupuncture, it was not long before he said my body was so damp and asked if I living in a damp house? I was.  The windows were rotten, the heating was costing me a fortune which I did not have, it was impossible to get warm and it was quite possibly, according to him, a contributing factor to my depression. I had been suffering from mental health issues for a long time and they were getting worse and worse, mainly due to the facts I was now having to face, but the housing environment was not helping, clearly. I had also been signed off sick, long term after a rather ardeous interview at the benefits office to prove I was unfit to work on mental health ground. It never ceases to amaze me that people still think that benefits are handed out on a silver plate!

After the accupuncture assessment my friend and her husband both suggested I got the environmental health people in, which I did. She could not find damp, which is interesting, but she said the landlord would have to fix the windows and the electricity if the council were to continue to pay the rent…………….wow!  So, we were given 2 months notice. Not long before this I had been noticing running noises up in the atic, so we got the pest control man in…………we had rats, and lots of them, it was disgusting.

You sometimes have to crack eggs to make an omlette and that is exactly what was going on in our lives.  For the next two months we had nowhere to live. It was terrifying and it looked pretty bleak. Housing Benefit will only give a deposit up to their amount that they pay, and as there were no properties around for that amount that were habitable, it left me in a very difficult place, until a very dear friend offered to help, two weeks before our deadline.

It was like all my prayers were answered at once, and believe me, I had been praying day and night for God to intervene. She helped with my son’s move to London, she helped me with my deposit and helps with the difference between what housing benefit pay per month as there is always a short fall. It is incredible what the love of a good friend can do to change your life and I am grateful everyday to have her.

When it comes to living on welfare and housing benefit, what people maybe don’t realise is that housing benefit is paid every two weeks and that is it spread over 13 months for some reason, so there is always a deficiet each month.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to have it but it is not the walk in the park and the easy option for the majority of people who receive it as people make out. In my humble opinion, there needs to be an easier way to pay it because it leaves people in debt all the time and most landlords do not want to be renting to people on benefits, possibly for this very reason

I had one of those Pretty Woman moments when I walked into the estate, suddenly my life had changed and I had choice, and guess what, a wonderful home appeared, somewhere that I have driven past for years thinking it is the most beautiful house I have ever seen and I would love to live there, I am.  The landlords don’t see people on welfare as less than them, they see me as people who need some help and support, what a total relief.

I really believe that it is the class system, the snobbish attitude that is really causing so many of the problems around homelessness. I was spoken to like a piece of shit by the people at the benefits office, the housing office even forgot to put my claim across,as I switched from boroughs, which almost lost me the house, thank God I checked it and I managed to get a friend to guarantee my rent for a year should I default. All that before I could get somewhere to live.

I do hope that anyone reading this will pass it on to anyone they know who maybe could do with a re-think and if you know an estate agent, let them know!! There was only one that helped me in Guildford, and I will always be grateful to them and to my landlords who are so human and believe that everyone deserves a chance. I feel so blessed to have met them and that I was given a break. I felt so shit about myself because of what our life had become, and it is all now helping me to grow and to feel human again, we all need love and support.

I have made a video about that time, including my struggles with domestic abuse, which you can find at http://www.youtube.com/addicts4addicts