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    To be honest, I'd be lost, and probably even more ill, if it wasn't for the support I've received.

"To be honest I can't imagine how people would be without it because I'd be lost, and probably even more ill if it wasn't for it."

Bethan* is a mother of three children and lives in a village in North Wales. She suffers greatly from depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Bethan was very ill when she first came into contact with Shelter Cymru's Independent Housing Support Project as the stress of her financial situation was exacerbating her existing mental health problems.

She was behind on utility bills and was also in huge rent arrears. As a result of the arrears she was at serious risk of losing her home; Bethan was well aware of this and was terrified at the prospect.

Her problems began after she was judged fit for work under the Work Capability Assessment. This meant she moved from one benefit to another. However due to her mental health difficulties she couldn't cope with the demands of the Job Seekers Allowance and she eventually stopped claiming altogether. She had been without benefits for four months, existing only on Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit, when Shelter Cymru intervened. Bethan and her children had gone through the winter in their home without heating as there was simply no money to pay for it.

"I have depression, OCD and anxiety anyway; but it was terrible at that time, with the constant pressure."

The stress caused by her financial situation meant she had stopped opening any mail; it was clear to her support worker that she needed a great deal of support.

Thanks to the Independent Housing Support Project, her support worker was able to work intensively with Bethan to work through the many problems that she faced. One by one, the support worker was able to prove the extent of Bethan's illness which meant she could be on the correct benefits, worked to address other debts and was even able to gain a grant from a fuel poverty trust fund. All this meant Bethan's financial struggle ended and she was no longer at risk of losing her home.

"Everything has been sorted: I've kept my house, all my rent is back up do date, she sorted all my benefits out. Everything, she's been absolutely brilliant."

All this has transformed not only Bethan's financial situation, but also her outlook to the future. She can now afford to live within her means and support her children without fear of falling into debt again.

This vital and transformative work was only possible because of the Supporting People funding that allowed the support worker to work so intensively to help Bethan overcome the threat of homelessness and financial ruin. The prospect of reduction in this funding gravely concerns Bethan.

"It would be a dire situation if it didn't get funding. Personally I think it's an absolutely brilliant service that they offer."

Bethan is certain that without the help she has received, she would now be homeless and without her children. The continuation of Supporting People funding would mean that many more families like Bethan's can stay in their home and live fuller, happier lives.

*Names have been changed

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    © Cymorth Cymru 2020 | Company Registration No: 5093332 | Charity No: 1116774
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    © Cymorth Cymru 2020
    Company Registration No: 5093332
    Charity No: 1116774