Ellie is in her 20s and cares for her mum, who has dementia. Although they don’t live in one of our homes, they were eligible for support through our outreach service. 

Ellie’s mum was in serious debt and owed thousands of pounds for water bills, rent and council tax. She didn’t open letters and had unpaid bills going back several years. Bailiffs were planning to take action, which might have led to them losing their home. The situation was extremely stressful. 

So Ellie dropped out of university and moved into her mum’s one-bedroom flat to help sort everything out. When she found out about our outreach service, she filled in our referral form to request support. 

One of our Support Workers, called Maureen, got in touch to offer assistance. She gave Ellie one-to-one support and helped her find a solution to the problems facing the family. They met up regularly and kept in touch via phone calls and texts. 

The main aim was to get Ellie’s mum out of debt and improve their financial situation. Maureen contacted all the organisations the family owed money to, including the council, landlord, utility companies. She explained the situation and asked them to pause any action while they found the money needed to pay off the bills. She also persuaded the bailiffs to withdraw actions against Ellie’s mum. 

Next, Maureen focused on increasing their income. She found out which benefits Ellie’s mum would be eligible for and helped her apply for them. This included PIP (Personal Independence Payment), which gave her £3,500 in backdated payments. They used this money to pay off rent arrears and regain their home stability.  

As Ellie’s mum has dementia, she was also eligible for SMI (Severe Mental Impairment) benefits. Maureen helped her claim it and receive a council tax discount. 

With the debt reduced and extra money coming in each month for the family, Maureen helped Ellie make a budgeting plan. This involved looking at what their regular income and outgoings are, and planning their spending around that. It will help them avoid future debt and save more money. 

Maureen also helped Ellie get therapy, so she could recover from the period of stress and regain her wellbeing and resilience. 

Finally, Maureen worked with the family’s housing provider and arranged for them to move into a larger, two-bedroom home. It’s closer to relatives so they’ll have a better support network. 

Now, Ellie and Sharon are in control of their lives again. Their debt is sorted, they have a new payments plan and Ellie’s wellbeing is improving. She hopes to return to university soon. 

Ellie said: "Maureen's the loveliest lady. Thank you so much for all your help, you've truly been so amazing and helpful. I don't think we would have been able to do it without you. It's made such a difference to both mum and I, but I can especially see the difference in mum now we have less stress about bills.” 

Maureen added: “It can be really hard to cope with a situation like this, especially when there are so many different complexities and organisations involved. I’m so pleased Ellie reached out for help, and that I could make a difference to their lives. It has been a huge relief for daughter and mum.” 

Get support 

Our outreach service is currently available in Essex, Havering, Thurrock and Tower Hamlets, where it is commissioned. Find out how to get support. 

Information for commissioners 

We support thousands of people every year to overcome housing-related challenges and improve their lives. Find out how we deliver a successful outreach service 

Need urgent help?

If you need urgent support or just want to talk to someone, you can call 116 123 at any time of day or night to speak to the Samaritans.