Six months ago, life was pretty good for Amy Tran, 25, and her husband, David. The couple, from Wigan, were looking forward to the birth of their third child. But then tragedy struck – David, 29, was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. With David out of work, the bills soon mounted up and the family were facing eviction. That was until their ‘miracle worker’ stepped in and handed them a lifeline.
“I met David in his cousin’s Chinese takeaway. I was 16 and he was 20. We were young but we knew early on that we wanted to stay together. Two years later we had Lacey-Jade, who’s now 7, followed by Tianna-Lee, who’s 4.
“David’s illness came out of the blue. He’d started having headaches and feeling tired but we put that down to him working long hours. Then one day, he was sent home from work and ended up in hospital, having all sorts of tests. Two weeks later, we got the devastating news.
“On our first wedding anniversary in February 2017, we were told that David had advanced Stage 5 kidney disease. And he needed a transplant. I’d just given birth to our daughter, Kiara-Louise. Suddenly, we were on an emotional rollercoaster.
“David had no choice but to give up his job as a Bench Engineer. His boss said he would keep the job open for him but the wages stopped.
“In the background I knew we were getting behind on rent and other bills. I applied for housing benefit but, because we’d had an overpayment in 2013, they said we’d have to pay that back first. We couldn’t afford to do that. Plus we were living in a house with two bedrooms, which was now too small for us.
“I kept the money problems to myself as I didn’t want David to worry. I applied for benefits but it was taking a while to sort out. I asked for help but no-one could get us out of this situation. That was until I contacted Riverside.
“They sent Peter Gallagher from the Intensive Intervention team to help. When he came into the house, I just broke down and cried. I told him everything. He was determined to help us. For the first time, I felt we had someone on our side.
“Peter could see that we needed a bigger house. But to have any chance of moving, we’d have to pay the £2,500 rent arrears first. So he applied for some grants – and we got funding from social services, the Vicar’s Relief Fund and Kidney Care UK. He also put us in touch with the Income Maximisation team who helped us get all of the benefits we’re entitled to.
“Peter even applied to the council to have the housing benefit overpayment written off. And finally, he found a three-bedroom home for us to move into.
“When we first met Peter, my family was in a big black hole. While the future is still uncertain – as we wait for David to have a kidney transplant – one thing’s for sure. Without Peter, I don’t know where we’d be today. He truly is a miracle worker and I can’t thank him enough.”
Helping you when times are tough
Riverside’s Intensive Intervention service is there to help younger customers who are at risk of losing their home.
It offers bespoke, tailored support at times of crisis and has helped customers struggling with issues including ill-health, debt, problems with the benefits system and redundancy.
The aim is simple: to work with them to find ways to support them so that they can remain in their home.
The service provides support to customers aged under 30, as research shows us that this age group is most likely to struggle in their first tenancy. Intensive Intervention is funded through our charity, the Riverside Foundation.
We also provide a range of support for customers of all ages when times are tough. This includes money and benefits advice, help to save on household bills, and support to find work and training in order to boost household income.
Need our help? Get in touch with us by visiting our Contact us page.