“The process is so long and so confusing…”

With support and advice, Kimberly and her family were able to get help from the council when they were made homeless.

kimberly-with-paperwork

When I realised that my family were going to become homeless I contacted Shelter straight away. And I basically got coached through every step of the process.

Call Shelter’s helpline on 0808 800 4444 if you are homeless or about to be made homeless. You can find homelessness advice on our website

We were living in a privately rented 2-bed ground-floor flat near High Wycombe. We had been there 2 years, which was as long as we’d been in anywhere for a while. I was working and we were keeping up with the rent.

Then we had an email from the landlord saying that they were selling.

We went to the council and they told us to find another place ourselves. We tried so many estate agents but the moment that you say you have housing support of any kind they run a mile. Lots of adverts say very clearly, ‘no pets, no DSS’.

So when we got the summons we took that in to the council. They said we had to wait for the court date. Then the council said we had to wait for the judge’s decision. Then we had to wait for the bailiff’s letter. It was such a long process.

I spoke to Shelter after every stage. I was getting the support and the information each step of the way. The process is so long and so confusing that you really need that advice.

kimberley-advice-thumbMy advice would be: Be polite. Keep your documents together. Make notes. Once you have all your information, keep it in the same place and take it with you to meetings. 

Two days before the bailiffs arrived, in December 2015, we got an email from the council with address details for a flat in a hostel, where we had to be at 2pm the same day.

The room in the hostel was a tiny space for us all.

We spent last Christmas in the hostel, and then at the end of January we were moved to a two bedroom temporary accommodation house. It was run down but we made the best of it.

Then in September we were told we could move into a housing association flat, which would be our permanent home.

It’s run down but it’s so ready to be taken care of and made homely. It’ll be the first place I’ve ever lived that I can decorate.

The experience of being homeless was soul destroying and it was the worst thing that I’ve ever experienced.

You’re constantly fighting, and you’ve got to be everything all at the same time, you’ve got to be polite and supportive and you’ve got to know what your rights are because nobody there is going to tell you.

I worried that we might end up with nowhere at all. I worried that the children would be taken away from us because it was implied that they would house the children but not us.

But I think it’s all part of the process, to make people help themselves, because you want them to be on the rockiest rock bottom, to make them pull themselves out, but once you’ve destroyed someone, how do you expect someone to help themselves?

That’s what Shelter do, they help people get confidence and they say actually they can’t do that, and this is the law that says they can’t do that.

Every time I called Shelter, the advisers knew what the last call was about, where we were in the process, and they could help me with the next step. It was absolutely invaluable.

kimberly-and-kids

If you are homeless or about to be made homeless call Shelter’s helpline on 0808 800 4444 . Find homelessness advice on our website

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