At MHA, we are passionate about creating quality homes and services and supporting our customers to live the best lives that they can, which is why we continue to support Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru’s Housing Matters Wales Campaign. The campaign calls on Welsh Government to ensure the 2022/23 budget supports and reinforces the Welsh Minister’s commitment to ending homelessness in Wales.
Paul (Aged 51), is one of many people currently supported by MHA. He has kindly allowed us to share the massive impact MHA’s dedicated support has had on the quality of his every day life, reinforcing the importance of prioritising funding of the Housing Support Grant, to enable us to continue to support people to thrive and fulfil their aspirations to live independently.
“The support I have received from Dave is essential for my wellbeing. Without this support, I would not be able to cope and my level of worry and panic would be unbearable” – Paul
Paul was living in a three bedroom house, that he had lived in all his life – his parents were previous tenants but had now sadly both passed away. As a result of this, Paul was subject to a Bedroom Tax charge of 25% of the full rent, due to under-occupation, which had placed him in severe financial hardship.
During Paul’s initial assessment, David Jones, MHA Housing & Wellbeing Officer, identified the a number of areas of support required – Housing; Employment & Finances; Mental Health & Correspondence.
David assisted Paul to complete a Houseswapper application, regarding a three-way Mutual Exchange Paul had discussed with two other MHA tenants. Although it took a bit longer than anticipated due to a legal technicality, the application was successful and the exchange took place on 18th October 2021. It was ascertained that Paul was entitled to a payment of up to £100 towards moving costs, which was successfully applied for.
Paul now lives in a beautiful one bedroom house, so is no longer subject to Bedroom Tax and is in a far stronger financial position. With David’s help, they have since sorted all of Paul’s utilities at the new address and successfully applied through MHA’s Hardship Fund to meet the cost of having Paul’s cooker connected.
Employment & Finances:
David encouraged Paul to regulate his working hours weekly to what he thought he could manage, in order to stabilise his Universal Credit (UC) payments and allow him to budget effectively. At the end of June, Paul received a letter from HMRC advising that he was due a tax rebate. David made enquiries on Paul’s behalf over the telephone and online and the payment was secured and transferred to his bank. Paul was also referred to Citizens Advice (CAB) to to discuss his financial concerns, and David assisted Paul to contest a negative decision regarding his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment – with the result due within 12 weeks.
Due to the pressure Paul was under because of his financial situation, he had been suffering with depression and often had suicidal thoughts. David made regular weekly visits to check-in with Paul regarding his mental health and Paul consistently advised he no longer “goes to the [Severn] Bridge” and has a far more positive frame of mind than when they first met. Paul was enrolled onto MIND’s Active Monitoring Programme, which will hopefully give him some tips for managing his depression and improve his wellbeing.
Paul has quite severe Dyslexia and suspected learning difficulties, as a result Paul was unable to understand correspondence. As Paul is reliant upon routine, David carried out weekly visits at the same time, on the same day every week to check through any mail he had received and deal with anything that needed attention.
Paul requires an intensive level of support, so far he has received in excess of 110 hours of client support work and more than 100 hours of face to face contact. However, Paul and David have forged an excellent working relationship and Paul engages at all times and is a pleasure to work with. David said “I believe we have come a long way in addressing Paul’s issues… Whilst we are yet to fully achieve all of the goals we set, I feel we are making good progress and Paul is very grateful for the level of support he receives”.