Finding a new home for Pat

The Castle Vale Tenants Residents’ Association (TRA) helps and advises residents within the Castle Vale area of Birmingham on anything from finding employment and housing, through to debt advice and benefit appeals.

Obviously, with such a remit, the TRA has access to a wide range of services and funding sources, including those from the Severn Trent Trust Fund. They accessed this fund recently to help one of their residents.

Pat is 62 years of age and was living in a mortgaged property when she approached the TRA for advice and support.  She and her partner lived very separate lives, and a combination of abuse within the relationship, her partner’s unemployment and her medical problems, meant that she was experiencing financial hardship. Pat herself was used to being employed, and these new and distressing circumstances impacted strongly on her physical and mental health, leading to mortgage arrears and other general household bills.

The TRA supported Pat with mortgage possession advice whilst she dealt with the mortgage company taking back her property as she was not able to meet the payments.

The TRA explored various options with Pat, and supported her application to Birmingham City Council to find a new home. After 5 months in a hostel, she was granted the tenancy of a 1 bedroom rented flat.  She has since moved into a 2 bedroom rented property so that she can help care for her grandchildren. The TRA has continued to support her with advice on accessing her state pension, and how to write off or pay off other debts, including a successful Severn Trent Trust fund application to write off Pat’s arrears, so that she could start again with a clean slate.

Pat has largely recovered from her medical condition and is now in casual part time employment which she really enjoys. She is able to help her family and is no longer worried about debt. She has volunteered with TRA staff to help Birmingham’s application for a large scale lottery-funded project as an Expert Witness, as she has first-hand experience about the difficulties that debt and homelessness can bring to a family. “I had excellent help from the TRA, and would never have known about grants like those available from STTF if it hadn’t been for them,” says Pat. “And now it’s great to be back on my feet and able to help others.”

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