Helen’s story – ‘I felt like I was losing my home’

Helen came to Shelter for advice when she was struggling to pay her mortgage. 

This is her story:

I couldn’t pay the mortgage after my ex and I split up, and I also suffered a serious illness. It was just spiralling down from there.

I took on the house, but I had no idea what was going on. I talked to the bank every month, I didn’t hide from it. I told them where I was and what was going on and the bank said: OK yes, we’ll call you in a couple of months and we need to look at this again.

I was making partial payments to them, paying interest off every month, they never once mentioned that at the end I would lose my house no matter what. It finally hit me when I talked to this one girl and she said you will lose your house unless you put a new plan in place. I was so naive and so shocked. I was at my wits end, scared to death all the time, it was horrible.

I eventually found Shelter and it was a godsend. The adviser was so good, and he kept up with me all the time, and even he said: “it’s going to be a miracle if we can save your house“. He kept me advised and eventually he ran a defence for me and took over with the bank so I didn’t have to talk to them anymore and that was wonderful.

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I couldn’t cope with anything really, especially the idea of losing my house. I couldn’t have asked better than to run into Shelter. Everyone I spoke to at Shelter was so professional and so compassionate.

The adviser eventually called me and said I think the bank are just going to decide to let you have the house. Eventually the bank wrote me a letter saying I’d paid enough and it was my house now. It was such a huge weight off my shoulders, absolutely enormous. What a miracle. I can’t say enough about Shelter and what they do.

That has to be one of the worst things, to feel like you are losing your house and there is nothing you can do. If you think about your hierarchy of needs that’s at the very base – your shelter. If you don’t have that foundation everything else kind of falls off centre. You don’t feel safe anywhere.

Every day I was afraid.  Every minute of every day.  I was worried about phone calls, I was worried about letters. I was afraid of losing my home and it was horrible, horrible.

I credit with Shelter with having saved my home for me. Nobody can take it away from me now. What Shelter did for me was just incredible.

If you’re affected by money worries or mortgage arrears like Helen you can find more information on our Shelter advice pages.