Mariam, along with her two teenage sons and young daughter became homeless when severe domestic violence at the hands of Mariam’s husband left them in fear for their lives.
Birmingham City Council placed the family in temporary accommodation, but her husband – who had been arrested for trying to kill Mariam and her daughter – found out where they were staying and sent his friends to threaten her. Mariam and her children were moved into emergency accommodation: a one-bedroom outhouse in the garden of a hotel. It was run down, infested with mice and entirely unsuitable for the family.
At this point, Mariam came to Shelter for help. Jas, an adviser at our Birmingham hub challenged the suitability of the hotel outhouse and was able to get the family moved to a four-bedroom house in a different area.
Shelter also helped the family manage their desperate financial situation: due to debts run up by her ex-husband, bailiffs were chasing Mariam and her benefits had been incorrectly suspended. Jas was able to get this decision reversed and liaised with the creditors to ensure payment plans were put in place. Our paralegal service also supported Mariam by contacting agencies and drafting letters on her behalf as she applied for more permanent housing.
In addition to their dire housing situation, Mariam and her family were struggling to deal with two different court cases. She and her sons were the witnesses to the crown prosecution case against her husband over his death threats, and incredibly, she also faced a family court case, as her ex-partner wanted control over his children. Shelter helped Mariam with pre- court visits, and made sure that witness protection and safety measures were put in place when the family were in court.
Today, Mariam and her family are permanently housed in a two- bedroom newbuild home. When they moved in, a Shelter DIY Adviser was there to make the home habitable, and we provided grants to cover essentials, such as furniture and white goods. Shelter also donated toys to ensure that Mariam’s little daughter, who had been through so much in her short life, had presents to open on her birthday.