Case Study: ‘Suzanne’

Copy written for Citizens Advice — Winter Hardship Fund

FULL LENGTH VERSION

“I felt like I’d hit a brick wall and wasn’t really sure which way to turn,” says Suzanne.*

When her parents refused to let them stay in their house any longer, Suzanne and her new baby were made homeless.

She called Citizens Advice and spoke to our adviser Kate, who worked quickly with our partners at the Homeless Prevention Team.

After a period in emergency accommodation, Suzanne was eventually found a private rental. She was grateful for the flat but it was now winter which brought its own problems.

“The flat was never warm, the baby’s room especially was always really cold,” says Suzanne.

The baby slept with Suzanne in her bedroom, but that room too was damp and draughty. Suzanne only had a summer duvet herself and would wake up cold in the night.

Kate successfully referred Suzanne to the Winter Hardship Fund. With the fund Kate purchased some winter clothing for the baby and a warm liner for the pram. She also sourced a thicker duvet for Suzanne.

Kate referred Suzanne to her housing officer for the damp problems and began looking for ways to make property warmer. She obtained a small fuel voucher to help Suzanne pay for heating and even sourced a pair of energy efficient, portable heaters through the Winter Hardship Fund.

“Before I spoke with Kate I was feeling confused, lost and frustrated,” said Suzanne. “But Kate has been so helpful, I have more confidence now. I’m feeling better, more content.”

*not her real name

CONDENSED VERSION #01

“Before I spoke with Kate I was feeling confused, lost and frustrated,” says Suzanne.*

When Suzanne and her new baby were made homeless, she called Citizens Advice and spoke to our adviser, Kate.

Working with our partners, Kate helped Suzanne moved into her own flat in time for Christmas.

Sadly, the flat was damp and draughty. With only a summer duvet both Suzanne and the baby would wake up cold in the night.

Using the Winter Hardship Fund, Kate was able to purchase winter clothing for the baby, energy efficient heaters, a thicker duvet and even a small fuel voucher

“Kate has been so helpful, I have more confidence now. I’m feeling better, more content,” says Suzanne.

*not her real name

CONDENSED VERSION #02

“I felt like I’d hit a brick wall and wasn’t really sure which way to turn,” says Suzanne.*

When Suzanne and her new baby were made homeless, she called Citizens Advice for help.

Our adviser, Kate, worked with our partners to help Suzanne move into her own flat in time for Christmas.

When the flat turned out to be cold and damp, Kate used the Winter Hardship Fund to purchase winter clothing for the baby, energy efficient heaters and a small fuel voucher.

“Kate has been so helpful, I have more confidence now. I’m feeling better, more content,” says Suzanne.

*not her real name

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Jules Powis

I’ve written for BBC radio, science podcasts and video journalism plus online content for a wide range of clients in both the commercial and public sector.