How we solved a Housing Issue in Richmond upon Thames

The following is a case study of a housing issue we were looked at on behalf of a family living in Richmond upon Thames. This is their story.

A couple Mr and Mrs X and their son had moved into a property owned by social landlords and for the first 3 years everything was fine, then new neighbours arrived in the property above them and everything changed.

Anti-Social Neighbours, Stress and PTSD

The new neighbours were noisy, abusive and aggressive, they damaged the couples car, threw rubbish into their garden and had a total disregard for others. They played loud music in the early hours of the night, banged on their entry doors for no reason, there was shouting and they were offensive to people around them especially the couple downstairs.

What made this situation worse was that Mr X suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as result of being tortured in his Middle Eastern homeland and this situation was worsening his mental health and wellbeing.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult. These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life. Source: NHS choices

Mrs X and their young son who was transitioning from primary to secondary school were also being affected by this situation, Mrs X developed depression and their son had become highly anxious, withdrawn and suffered from insomnia. They were desperate to move to a quieter area and live without the stress the family were currently under.

Five Years of Frustration!

During the last 5 years the couple had been in touch with their social landlords to request a move, who were supportive and understood their position, but due to property shortages or the type of property offered, this was unable to be done. They also tried to move using their property transfer system on the Internet through a bid process but this was also unsuccessful.

The couple reported the neighbours to the Police who issued an ASBO against them and for a while this worked, however it was short-lived and the offending neighbours began to repeat their bad behaviour.

The couple were getting frustrated and didn’t know what to do, they had filled in numerous council forms and filed numerous doctor reports with the applications for a property move but were getting nowhere. This situation did not help Mr X of course and was stressful for the whole family.

On top of their frustration the system for housing allocation and eligibility points had also changed and they didn’t know where they stood.

How Emag used their Housing Expertise

They then approached EMAG for help. At the same time another property came up which the couple could apply for on the online property transfer system.

What we did

1.     We listened
2.     Collected evidence
3.     Recommended a course of action
4.     Made telephone calls to relevant people
5.     Wrote a strong letter of recommendation for the transfer

Listening is an important part of this exercise as we need to understand their situation and get all the facts. As we are experienced in helping people with housing we were able to recommend a course of action that we discussed with the family. A week later the couple applied for the property online and submitted our letter as well as the other evidence we recommended. They were successful and we can now report that they are living peacefully and feel safe in their new surroundings. Mr X still has PTSD, however there is no additional stress on the family. Overall they are much happier and their mental health and emotional wellbeing has greatly improved.

What else does Emag do?

Housing is just one of the many areas EMAG helps people with. Other areas include and is not limited to:

1.    Benefits and Social Care
2.    Inadequate housing and Housing transfers
3.    Depression, suicidal and Isolation
4.    Adult Domestic Abuse
5.    Education and training
6.    Health Issues
7.    Immigration Issues
8.    Hate Crime and Harassment
9.    Carer Support
10.  School Admission

We help all people of all ages and it doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is or what faith you are.

We support everyone.

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