- Clare from Salvation Army started contacting Letting Agents for me from ‘To Let’ signs she sees whilst doing her job and also from online adverts.
- She’s also sending me some to contact myself, so that I can show to the council that I’ve been actively looking.
- We’re not expecting any of these enquiries to be successful (they either respond that the place is unavailable or they’re not accepting tenants on housing benefit), but the exercise is merely to put me in a ‘good position’ for the council to house me. At least, it’s better to start from that.
- I’m compiling a spreadsheet recording the dates & places I’ve sent enquiries to. It’s going to be bulletproof.
- I’ve completed the council’s ‘Homelessness Prevention Service’ form again, as advised by the solicitor, now that I have the court order to move out. Strangely, I didn’t receive the letter myself but thankfully was able to get the solicitor to email his copy.
- The Homelessness Prevention Service called me back. After answering all the questions, I told them that me and Salvation Army had been looking for private rented places so far. They were going to leave it at that, saying that’s all they would have suggested for me. So I asked “Can I not apply for the Rent Guarantee Scheme?”. It’s a scheme where they pay the deposit and first month of rent, and act as a guarantor (which is what I’m currently on). They asked how much savings I have and agreed I could apply if I paid the deposit and first month myself, which was fine. The usefulness of the scheme to me currently is the help from the council in finding a place.
- I’ve now sent all the documents they’ve asked for, including bank statements.
- Last week I also emailed my local Labour MP about the housing situation. I’ve seen and heard of examples of people doing this specifically to help get stuff expedited (e.g. mental health treatment), but that’s always seemed unfair to me and personally it would give me no satisfaction to receive help that way. Because what would I suggest to someone else in a similar situation? My motivation to email him was to add a data point and voice the need for change. I used my example to demonstrate the issue.
- The MP forwarded my email to their assistant who is contacting the council for me to ask about my situation. I’ve copied in Stepping Forward and Salvation Army charities and attached the court letter.
I have no idea if any of this is going to come to something. But anyway it’s good to have had some actions to take, and thanks to Clare from Salvation Army some kind of plan. She alternately projects confidence then tries to lower my expectations on different days. Doesn’t matter to me because my expectation level remains flat :). Either someone helps me, or it’s game over and I’m done. Publish my blog as a memoir if you like, seriously.
At some point someone’s going to have to stop dithering because I’ve only got a few weeks 😂. At that point I can buy even more time by not moving out which would force the landlord to go back to the court to request a possession warrant and send bailiffs, which would take another 1-2 months. I’d be given a date for it and have to pay the court costs again. If I don’t do that, the council would deem me to have ‘made myself homeless’, thus giving themselves a ‘perfect’ excuse not to help.
Who knows how it’s going to end. I feel like I’m being held hostage for having too much savings (thanks to recent inheritance) to qualify for help, and on the other hand not qualifying for private tenancies because I’m unemployed and receiving benefits. On the one hand people want to suggest it somehow affects my ability to pay rent, and on the other that it doesn’t. It helps me pay the deposit and first month of rent, that’s it. Obviously!
Oh and why aren’t I receiving PIP? Why aren’t I receiving knee or mental health treatment? 😂🤦♂️. Welcome to Tory Britain.