And so we were left there, at home. No paper, bad computers, no printers, no scanners. If we managed to get a bit of information about our clients in this, the information age, we could do nothing about it. Our clients went to ground. The Courts shut down. The lockdown froze everything.
We were on the raft of the Medusa. Drifting and aimless.
Allie lives in a squalid HMO. She was turned out on the street when she lost her job. Bullies instructed by her landlord turned her out and she lived on the buses, not speaking English.
We stepped in and the Council said she is not homeless. For now.
Billie is blind. She got evicted because she couldn’t read her bank statements. She had to sleep in a supermarket car park during the pandemic.
We stepped up and she is not homeless. For now.
Charlie has had no stable home for 10 years. He’s in his 50’s. He has health problems. He sleeps in his car like as not.
The Council stepped up, and Charlie is not homeless. For now.
Dani lives in a House in Multiple Occupation. Very primitive conditions that must be registered and licensed with the Local Authority and they are not. She lives with swindlers papers, instead of a proper lease. People come and take her cash and go away again.
We stop her eviction for a bit. For now.
Henri faced constant harassment and her absent landlord told her immigration papers allowed him to do whatever he wanted including summarily evicting her because she’s foreign. Not easy to explain that to the Police Officers who attended, bemused.
But even then we stop that eviction. For now.
India fled her country because of LGBT persecution. We got her housed, and she started working as a care worker in the pandemic.
People of good heart have come to these shores to help us in our time of crisis. Why do we reject them?
Julia, Keira, Lisa and Mary had to make urgent domestic violence applications to the Home Office. The domestic violence workers at the refuges were key. All concerned could have been infected. We managed to make applications to the Home Office.
Job done. For now.
Nina got stuck in spiraling rent arrears as she got stuck, sick, between legacy benefits and Universal Credit, stuck in food banks.
We got that unstuck. For now.
Owen hid in his council flat, self-isolating . 5 people died of the pandemic that he knew of. A Discretionary Housing Payment has reduced his arrears by 1.5k. He’s scared to go to the Post Office to pay the rent.
Unstuck for a bit.
Paul got sick and went into hiding when a possession Order was made. I don’t know whether he is alive or dead.
And so I could take you from A-Z and back again.
In our nook in Hackney brave staff come in to the offices to pick up the post and read the letters. Beya, Marcin, Sean, Kevin.
In the stay that is PD 51Z, the freeze on the possession claims will only last for so long. Yet they will last now for 23.8.2020.
We fought and we managed and we got signal victories. Inch by inch.
It ain’t going to be easy to fix the things that are broken in the Coronavid pandemic. But to fix these problems, we need to fix the problems we had before. As we float, helpless, on the raft of the Medusa we can do nothing.
Or we can do everything and get it all unstuck.