Getting back on track

See how we helped Paul through a very low point in his life

Paul: “Cornerstone was there for me at a very low point in my life”

Despite suffering from chronic severe anxiety himself, Paul had begun to spend most of his time caring for his mother who was suffering from poor health.

As a consequence of his spending so much time at his mother’s flat his housing benefit was stopped on his own accommodation, because it was decided that he no longer lived there.

He was advised by the council to continue with the tenancy on his own flat to avoid making himself homeless, but without his housing benefit, large rent and council tax arrears accumulated.

Thus, when Paul arrived at Cornerstone at the beginning of October 2013, he brought with him a letter from his landlord informing him that because of his rent arrears, his case was due to be heard in court in 10 days time and that the landlord would be seeking immediate possession of his flat. He also had paperwork from a bailiff who had visited his mother’s sheltered accommodation in order to collect council tax. Paul said himself, that it was a very low point in his life.

Cornerstone’s priority was to get Paul accommodation so that he could move out of his mother’s one bedroom flat. Cornerstone contacted Paul’s old landlord and asked if they would consider allowing Paul to keep his tenancy. The landlord did not agree to this. Cornerstone had to arrange new accommodation. On the 3rd of December we rehoused Paul so that he was close to Cornerstone so that he could come into the day centre to socialise and to continue to get our support.

We also helped Paul to resolve his debt problems. Firstly we dealt with Paul’s payment plan for his rent arrears. Secondly, we rang the council to explain Paul’s situation. We asked them to stop their bailiff from calling at Paul’s mother’s flat in order to collect his unpaid council tax and to ask them if they would remove the extra court costs that had been added to his debt. The council were very helpful and agreed to do so. We eventually visited Paul’s doctor with him to get Paul exempted from paying council tax altogether.

We are still supporting Paul. Recently we caused him a new headache... he needed to open a bank account to deposit the refund we had got him for his council tax! Unfortunately his post office card account did not allow for cheques to be paid in. Paul had been to both the bank and to the council to try and get help, but none was forthcoming. He turned again to Cornerstone, and we were able to help him open an account and to bank his council tax refund!

Paul said that he felt “empowered ….it makes you want to strive to save more.”

Cornerstone is a day centre providing services to adults facing a wide range of social issues including homelessness, poverty, social isolation, poor mental health, drug and alcohol addiction. We operate an open door policy and welcome people from all backgrounds with our aim being to offer support to our clients, improve their prospects and enhance their quality of life.

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