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Case study: Henna

A tenancy sustainment case study

Tenancy sustainment team guide widow to a brighter financial future

Our Tenancy Sustainment service has long been a lifeline for residents in need of financial support. Run by the L&Q Foundation, staff go to great lengths to help those facing financial hardship and in need of expert support.

Henna* was referred to our Tenancy Sustainment team for support after losing her husband in late 2019. At the time, she was not actively involved in managing any of her household finances and didn’t know whom to turn to for help. Unable to speak English, she was unaware of the practical support available, including the benefits she was entitled to. As several months passed, Henna fell into significant arrears, putting her tenancy at risk.

Henna received a letter in January 2020, advising her to claim for Universal Credit. An overwhelming time, Henna was unable to follow this up and the debt continued to grow. The emotional toll of losing a spouse led to a downward spiral in her mental health. During this time, Henna developed depression and anxiety and experienced regular panic attacks.

Anxiety around her finances had a significant impact on Henna’s situation, and it wasn’t until July 2020 that she was able to make a claim for Universal Credit.

Henna lives in a three-bed home with her non-dependent son. Due to the size of the property and her son being a non-dependent, she received two Universal Credit deductions which left her with a rent shortfall.

Asif from our Tenancy Sustainment team supported Henna by applying for Discretionary Housing Payment on her behalf. This application was successful, and the additional money now covers the bedroom tax and Henna’s rent shortfall, reducing her arrears by over £3000. Costs were also kept down as Asif was able to communicate with Henna via a family member, thus eliminating the need for a translator.

A payment plan was in place for rent arrears and Henna no longer risks losing her home.

Henna said: “I am pleased with the excellent service provided by L&Q’s Tenancy Sustainment Service.”

Henna’s sister said, “I found Asif very friendly, patient and helpful in helping my sister with the rent arrears. We appreciate the help and support provided.”

*Name has been changed to protect identity