Prevent homelessness by supporting our Christmas campaign

1354282647
04 Dec 2012
by Neil Skinner

“Without Framework I’d be homeless.” Those five simple words, uttered by literally hundreds of people each year, summarise perfectly the goal of this year’s Christmas fundraising campaign.

You may be well aware of our life-changing (and in some cases life saving) work with people who are already homeless – people who are suffering the pain, insecurity and isolation of a life with nowhere to call home.

What you may be less aware of is our work with those who are on the very edge of becoming homeless – those people for whom a little bit of help today will prevent a great deal of pain and suffering tomorrow.

I was absolutely terrified. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep... I just kept thinking about how I would survive if they took my home from me. I was going to be made homeless because of someone else’s debt. I had no family to fall back on and just didn’t know where to turn.

Joan, 73

In the last year we helped more than 1,400 people avoid the threat of homelessness, by offering emergency advice, providing support to maintain accommodation, and by providing advocacy for people faced with repossession or eviction. In the last two years our legal representatives have saved more than 300 families from eviction and repossession proceedings in the courts.

I have always worked, I have always paid my bills, but once you get into a rut and don’t know where to get help it is hard. I was off for nearly a year and my debts piled up. they told me they were going to repossess the house. I don’t know where I’d be if Framework hadn’t stepped in for me. I would be sitting here, tearing my hair out and wondering who I can talk to and who can help.

Winsome

We know, however, that there are more people who need our help. Confident in the knowledge that prevention is always better than cure, we are appealing for public support to:

  • Provide legal expertise to prevent evictions and repossessions
  • Help vulnerable people live independently and free from the threat of homelessness
  • Provide emergency support for people in crisis – for example those who have suffered a bereavement, accident, illness or serious mental health episode.

We can stop an eviction of repossession for as little as £40 – money that will pay for us to attend a court hearing and file the necessary paperwork to save a family the pain of homelessness and the uncertainty it brings.

But just what sort of people are we helping?

All sorts of people are coming to us for help – often people you would simply not expect. We recently helped one elderly couple who faced repossession because of an unpaid water bill!

And what about Joan, a hard-working pensioner from Worksop, who, suddenly found herself faced with a repossession order from a subprime loans company – a company from which she had never borrowed a penny.

Instead she had signed a guarantor agreement for a friend without realising its full implications. When the friend got ill and fell behind on her payments Joan’s home was suddenly at risk. She explained: “I was absolutely terrified. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep... I just kept thinking about how I would survive if they took my home from me. I was going to be made homeless because of someone else’s debt. I had no family to fall back on and just didn’t know where to turn. I really can’t thank Framework enough for what they have done for me. I now know I’ll be safe in this house until I die.”

Winsome, from Nottingham, almost lost her home because of health problems. I have always worked, I have always paid my bills, but once you get into a rut and don’t know where to get help it is hard. I was off for nearly a year and my debts piled up. they told me they were going to repossess the house. I don’t know where I’d be if Framework hadn’t stepped in for me. I would be sitting here, tearing my hair out and wondering who I can talk to and who can help."

There are so many more people out there just like Winsome and Joan – people for whom this Christmas may very well be their last at home. We are receiving dozens of calls a week from people asking for help and advice because they fear the threat of homelessness.

Sarah Lloyd, a non-practicing barrister, heads Framework’s Legal Support Team. She explained: “I recent months we have been giving telephone advice in up to ten cases every day to people who fear they will lose their home because of arrears. This is very worrying at a time when interest rates remain at historically low levels. I would expect the number of people finding themselves in trouble to rise when interest rates return to more normal levels and when changes to the benefit system are implemented.”

Homelessness can happen to anybody. It could even happen to you or somebody you know. Help us to stop it before it starts by donating today.

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