Denise was heavily pregnant, going through a break up, and living in temporary accommodation when she first contacted Shelter. To make matters worse, she didn’t know where she’d be in a month’s time. The stress was unbearable.
‘The council said they’d only house me until I had the baby,’ Denise told us. ‘They said I’d made myself intentionally homeless because I’d moved out from where I’d been living with my husband. I was really worried, and didn’t know what to do.’
It was then that Denise turned to Citizens Advice, which told her about Shelter’s local drop in advice centre. She added, ‘Going to see Shelter made me feel that someone cared and that I was getting help.’
Fighting Denise’s corner
It was at our centre that Denise met our adviser Greg, who helped and supported her. Denise said, ‘Greg called me within 48 hours and always made sure he followed through on his promises.
‘He helped me so much with my housing. He wrote to the council and they finally agreed they have a duty to house me. I was able to stay in the same temporary accommodation and I’m so grateful to have somewhere to live with my little girl.
‘Shelter has been such a great support through this and were critical in getting the council to change their minds so that I could stay. Now I’m hoping to find somewhere settled I can live with my baby.’
Even for those homeless families that councils have a legal duty to house, it can sometimes be a fight to get the council to meet their responsibility. But that’s where we come in. Last year, we gave face-to-face advice and legal support to 33,000 people, took 60,580 calls to our helpline, and received 4.6m hits on the advice pages of our website.