After more than two years struggling with mounting debt, and barely managing to scrape together her weekly rent, Riverside customer Linsey reached a crisis point. With two children to look after and rent arrears, she knew she needed help… and Riverside came to the rescue…
“Each week I struggled to get enough to pay the rent. I knew I was entitled to housing benefit but they kept telling me ‘no,’– you can only argue so many times before you’ve had enough. I felt belittled, like a beggar.
I tried so many agencies, including Benefits Advice, CAB, The Law Centre. They said I was entitled but there was nothing they could do.
Every week I was running a bit short. Doing that for two years, eventually you run out of money. I had the choice of feeding the kids or paying the rent – but eventually I didn’t have any money for food either.
My kids never suffered because my family were funding them, but I felt guilty for borrowing money. I don’t believe in getting into debt, so it was hard for me.
I chose to work, although I was worse off than being on benefits. I didn’t want my children seeing me sitting at home all day and being much better off on benefits than when I was in work.
I’d been borrowing money and paying it back, but finally I couldn’t pay rent for two weeks. A woman from Riverside phoned me – she knew I’d been a regular payer so she wanted to check I was alright. I explained the situation and she asked about housing benefit.
She said she’d get in touch with the benefits agency for me, although I didn’t think it would help. But they met their match with Riverside!
I ended up owing five or six weeks’ rent when the money eventually came. Riverside were absolutely brilliant.
I received two and a half years’ backdated benefit and now receive it to top-up my wages.
With help from Riverside’s Money Advice team, I also cleared all my utility debts. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
The help Riverside gave me – honestly, they’re worth their weight in gold. I never felt under threat. I felt like they were there to help us out, not get us out.
If you’re in a similar situation to me, speak to Riverside, don’t hide. They won’t make you feel bad about your situation, and will genuinely help you… and it does get better.”
Struggling with rent, debt or money trouble?
Riverside doesn’t just provide homes. We have specialist teams on hand when you need that extra support, like Linsey did.
Our teams can help you manage your money and make savings by:
— offering help with rent
— supporting your search for work or training (including CV writing)
— ensuring you’re aware of any benefits to which you may be entitled
— identifying the best gas and electricity tariffs for you
— looking at options to increase your savings.
Visit our Money Advice pages to find out more.