Case study 1:
In February 2021, our Sustainability Team helped a tenant who had rent arrears of more than £1,000 and needed debt advice. The tenant had only recently moved to Wycombe for a fresh start following the death of her partner. Shortly after the move she became unwell and was hospitalised for a few days. This affected her ability to make a claim for benefits.
The team looked at her benefits and found out that she could apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Matt from our Sustainability Team completed an application and applied on her behalf. She was awarded £1,782, clearing her rent arrears, which allowed her to focus on keeping fit and well to enjoy her new home without the stress of increasing debt.
We were also able to refer her to One Can Trust as she had also been struggling to pay for food.
And now we're supporting her in finding local groups she can join to help her meet new friends and settle into the area.
Case study 2:
A tenant was affected by the benefit cap which meant that she struggled to afford her rent payments, and her arrears had escalated to the point where action was being taken.
She had a long history of anxiety, depression, and other health issues. During the Covid lockdown her food bill had escalated, so we referred her to One Can Trust for ongoing support.
Matt from our Sustainability Team looked at her benefits and found she could apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
The application was sent in, with supporting medical evidence, explaining why we felt the tenant should receive financial support. The council agreed, cleared £2,500 in rent arrears in full, and now make an ongoing award towards her benefit cap.
We also supported her successful application for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which increased her household income and removed the effects of the benefit cap, to ensure debts would not increase in the future.
What is a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)?
This is an extra benefit, paid by Buckinghamshire Council, which is available to tenants in financial hardship with rent arrears.
Case study 3: Nikki's story
"Last year I found myself in rent arrears and I thought it would never end. For a while I pretended it wasn’t happening, but it was horrible, and I eventually realised I had to face up to things and stop ignoring the letters.
I phoned Red Kite and spoke to Geoff. He was really understanding. I was worried I'd get told off and was scared about what would be said. But Geoff just wanted to help.
Together we worked through things and came up with an amount each week that I could pay to help clear the arrears.
It took a while, but now I haven’t just cleared the arrears, I'm actually in credit. This is a fantastic feeling as it means if I ever had an issue where I couldn’t pay, or if I need to spend some extra money at Christmas or in the holidays, I still have money there to pay my rent.
I regularly call Geoff now to talk things through. He's always there at the end of the phone and he's just so understanding.
My advice to anyone in a similar situation is: don’t be scared, pick up the phone and call, or email. They really will help and listen to you."
Visit our financial support page to find out how we could help you.