Kineara practitioner, Liz Towobola, spoke with one of her residents at the close of her programme about how they worked through her spending to ease the pressure on rent payments.
Resident: Not really. I was getting letters right left and centre for the rent, and for council tax as well; for me, there was too much to focus on and I didn’t know which one to pay because they are both important. Sometimes, when I needed to buy something for the kids, I would put the bills to the side and make a double payment next time, but then I would realise when it came to it being paid I couldn’t do it.
Liz: At the time you referred to the RSP, what did you think I could offer you and how did you feel about it?
Resident: I didn’t think you were going to offer me anything to be honest, I just thought it would be another little chit chat. I found it quite useful because there were times when I could pay the rent but I would be left without certain things which your support helped with. It was things like helping with gas and electric – sometimes it would run out and I would think I can’t go without gas or electricity, but then I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent too.
Liz: They are all priorities but some things you can get help for – you can get grants and funds for these but it is almost impossible to get extra help for paying rent. As is speaking out when things are very tight. Now that you know there are services available has that helped you?
Resident: Yes, there are other organisations but I have never been able to find them or access them. But know I know I can pick up the phone. Now I don’t have a problem with covering my electric and gas; the problem for me is that sometimes when I see something nice for the kids I should say to myself – no, you shouldn’t buy that today. But I end up doing it. And especially as I am working, I think I should be able to do that for my children. Often it is something they need too, so I think, what do I do?
Liz: At the beginning we did a budgeting plan and that’s exactly what you said, that’s when I realised that you it wasn’t that you weren’t getting enough money in. We worked everything out and even with your debt there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. You were very honest about where you were spending so I knew it would we would work well together! But it was clear that all you needed was support in making the right choices and the right times on how to manage your money.How do you feel about the relationship we built, and how did it help you towards your goals and paying your bills on time?
Resident: I found it easy to talk to you and I was comfortable with you, and so I was able to be honest and communicate with you. And it meant that you could be honest with me about how the programme was going and I appreciated that.
Liz: I remember at the beginning we missed a few appointments and opportunities to meet, but I knew that you had work with changing schedules, children and a busy timetable. I didn’t want to stop because I knew that its not easy to adjust to someone coming into your routine. All of this was important for everyone else to understand too. The programme has helped everyone to see the bigger picture and understand why you were finding it difficult to engage with the support officers in the housing association. Now that they are seeing regular payments the pressure has eased. What part of the programme did you find the most positive? And what have you gained and achieved for yourself?
Resident: I feel like it’s a must that I pay the rent now, because I am tired of feeling the pressure of it. I feel like as though I have a bit of breathing space – I don’t get letters through the door about it now apart from my rent statement. I have been paying the rent every Friday and it’s a relief when I do it and its out of the way, so I have to just keep doing that every week so I know I won’t get bothered about it in between. I just need to stick to my payment plan, and remember the things we spoke about so I don’t feel that pressure again.