“Mary, she helped me so much, actually she changed my life.” – Bandita
In January 2014 Bandita and her family were referred to the Rent Support Programme and Kineara practitioner Mary went to meet them to see how she could help. Ranveer and Bandita, and their three sons, were facing eviction from their home in Tower Hamlets because rent arrears had spiralled out of control. Ranveer and eldest son Nadish both suffer from long term debilitating health problems. Mum Bandita had stopped working to look after them and raise her other two sons, Arjit and Baru. Nobody in the family had been able to work for a long time and they had been unable to keep-up with paying their rent.
“I was just sitting in this corner and crying what to do. No one’s listening. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know, physically I’m not well and no one can understand me and I just receive a letter from Housing, you have to pay this, this, this and I said, I can’t go and tell them I don’t have money,” said Bandita.
Years spent caring for her husband and sons with no support from family who live abroad have taken their toll. Last year Bandita donated a kidney to Nadish and has still not fully recovered from the operation. Feeling isolated, depressed and confused, Bandita had also considered suicide. Bandita’s Housing Officer recognised that this wasn’t a case of someone who didn’t want to pay – losing their home would be devastating for the family. “She said ‘I’m not promising, but I’m going to refer you to Kineara, you need support,’” Bandita explained. “I said, what kind of support? What they going to do for me?”
When Mary met Bandita she realised that mentally and physically Bandita was struggling. She spoke with Bandita about her family, her home and her problems. She found out the family were in a lot of debt through borrowing from friends to manage the needs of her son’s illness. Then, as she became more depressed, friends lost interest and she felt more and more isolated.
As Mary began to understand the complexities of the family’s issues, she helped Bandita take back some control of her situation. She persuaded the Housing Association landlord to defer eviction proceedings and supported Bandita to apply for disability living allowance. “She helped me in every way, emotionally she supported me so much first and then she helped me about my many issues, my rent, my benefits, my financial crisis,” said Bandita. “She helped me like angel.”
Kineara’s Rent Support Programme methodology has been helping the family get back on track, and has given Bandita the boost she needed. “Mary helped me like a sister, like a friend, like she’s my well-wisher. Trust me, in my whole life no one helped me. Now I’ve changed so much, before, I was like, ask my children, I was like in so much depression, she went with me to talk to everyone, she helped me so much and I’m so happy.”
Before she left work Bandita volunteered at a local SureStart centre. Since meeting Mary she has gone back to volunteering and is looking forward to working with children again. She has also made a new friend at the college she attends, and is thinking about starting her own business. “I’m very, very happy and very relaxed inside, she took my problems, even lots of things I feel shy to tell people, she gave me support,” said Bandita.
Note: Names have been changed to protect residents’ identity.