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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Get me home

September 05 2018
Being single can make it hard to find a home, but homeless couples have challenges too, writes Elizabeth Parkes.

Hopefully the new Homeless Reduction Act will help this Croydon couple find a home. We know being single can make it hard to find a home, but homeless couples have challenges too

Izzy, 53, and her fella, 55, became homeless in 2017 when bailiffs turned up with an eviction order on the friend’s flat where they were staying in Croydon. The previous year they’d been evicted from their home of nine years following the Universal Credit roll-out. Their main problems have been that:

• Few homeless organisations help couples
• Being evicted gives no time to pack belongings (you might be given 20 minutes to get out)
• Landlords throw out possessions which then means the pair didn’t have the right ID (eg birth certificate, bank account) to get back into the system

Izzy says: “Being homeless is a fulltime job. Every day we go to churches for a meal, and to Crisis for a shower and a hot drink. Crisis has got the thumbs up from me in the help we have got from them so far. We have been given Oyster cards twice by our case worker so we could get about.

The staff are really helpful and kind. I have been able to book a two-hour gym session once a week and am doing a food hygiene course. I have met a lot of homeless people around the borough and found that if a person sticks to the appointments they are given, the help is there for them. Although we have been homeless for over eight months, I feel that if we had not taken up a few offers along the way of a bed in a friend’s flat, etc., we would have been in somewhere by now.”

 

Housing in England: your rights

Your local council does not always have to help you find emergency accommodation if you are homeless. If you need help right now, please try these numbers below. Ask them to help you make an emergency housing application.

For free help with your emergency housing application:

1. Streetlink
0300 500 0914

2. Shelter
england.shelter.org.uk; 0808 800 4444
(8am-8pm Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm weekends)

3. Citizens Advice Bureau
www.citizensadvice.org.uk; 03444 111 444

You should appeal the rejection if you think it is wrong. You have 21 days to appeal this decision. Shelter and Citizens Advice Bureau can help you with your appeal

If you have no place to sleep in Scotland, visit Shelter Scotland

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