Our tenant Sarah shares her story
Over the next months, we will be sharing stories from across the organisation about the hugely positive impact that our services have on people's lives. This is Sarah's story.
Sarah is a single parent of four children and was living in a three-bedroomed house. Sarah was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of the father of her youngest child. She had substantial rent arrears and had been served an injunction by our Community Safety Team as a result of anti-social behaviour.
Sarah found herself in a position where none of her children were living with her anymore. Her three eldest children had moved in with their father and had stopped visiting her, as the house brought back too many bad memories of the domestic abuse their mother had suffered from her recent ex-partner. Her youngest child had moved to the care of their maternal grandparents.
Sarah's mental health suffered as a result and the stress and anxiety she was experiencing manifested in eczema so severe at times that she couldn't walk.
Sarah worked with the Group's allocations and domestic abuse support officers to make an under-occupancy referral, as she was now living in a three-bedroom house alone, where she had experienced domestic abuse, plus anti-social behaviour issues were going on with her neighbours. The environment was not conducive to her getting back on her feet.
The Group's under-occupancy officer worked with Sarah to help her adapt her behaviour, giving her tools and techniques to deal with any conflict with her neighbours and providing guidance and support if an incident did occur that Sarah wasn't sure how to handle. Sarah fully engaged with the officer and as a result, the Community Safety Team agreed to end the injunction Sarah had against her.
With the anti-social behaviour well under control, Sarah then started to address the rent arrears she had accrued. Over time, she was able to reduce the arrears to a level where she could be considered for moving house.
With guidance, she applied for a new home via the Select Move Choice Based Lettings Scheme and was awarded a one-bedroom property. However, at this point, a one-bedroom property did not support her ultimate aim of making a fresh start. Which was, for her three eldest children to began visiting her again and to start to take more responsibility for the care of her youngest child, with the ultimate goal of them returning to live with her full time. Our under-occupancy officer, therefore, embarked on a joint liaison project involving the tenants, her parents, Children's Social Services, South Ribble Borough Council, and a number of other internal teams within the Group. As a result, it was agreed that Sarah could be awarded a two-bedroom property. A two-bed property was then identified in a safe area that was closer to her support bubble (her parents).
Sarah moved into her new property and now has sole care of the youngest child and her older children are regular visitors.
With the right support and guidance, Sarah has been able to transform her life. She is now thriving in her new home with her children firmly back in her life. Sarah wants other people in her situation to know that Progress Housing Group can provide support, guidance, and help in getting your life back on track.
"Thank you to everyone at Progress Housing Group who helped and guided me. I couldn't have done it without you" - Sarah
*Stock image used to protect identities