Partnership working helps reduce family debt

One of our Tenancy Services Officers (TSOs) shares her story about a family that turned their life around after struggling with debt.

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“Stonewater’s TSOs were recently visited by a local support group who help families change their lives for the better.They are there when people need them most, and liaise with local partners to get people the support they need.

“The groups visit was in the forefront of my mind when I went to the home of one family prior to a Court hearing. I had already attempted to engage with them several times with no success, but on this occasion I was surprised and relieved that they opened the door and invited me in" says our TSO.

“I listened to their concerns – the family had health issues and were in serious debt as their housing benefit had been stopped. Moving onto Universal Credit was challenging for them as the family only had limited literacy and IT skills. In short, their circumstances were, in the words of the mother, “out of control.”

“I began by discussing what the support group could do to help the family. They were wary at first, and felt as though their situation was impossible to get out of. However, after talking through the benefits that this support would bring, they agreed to meet with the group.

“The Court hearing was adjourned to allow the family time to get support in place. The Early Help Team support worker met with them regularly over the next few weeks, along with me on some occasions, to start to change their finances and family life.

“By the time the Court hearing took place, the family was receiving Universal Credit and working towards paying off their debt. Because of this, I was able to secure a suspended possession order on their home instead of an outright possession, which was a major boost for the family.

“Moving forward, not all of the family's issues are resolved, but they are now feeling supported. They are secure within their home and in a much more positive place. They are starting to take control of their lives, and are looking to the future with optimism.”