“If it wasn’t for Elizabeth I‘d probably leave the flat and end up being on the street again, cos I was stuck and I didn’t know where to turn.” – Pathou
Pathou was struggling with his finances and in rent arrears and seeing he needed extra support his housing provider referred him to Kineara’s Rent Support Programme. The programme offers specialist and intensive support and helps people to break down the barriers that are stopping them from achieving their potential and tackling their debt.
“When you’re going through stress, you’re not taking nothing serious no more, it’s like someone might be in your ear saying take this serious, get up in the morning look for a job, things like that, but when you’re going through depression, a lot of things on your mind, it’s really hard,” said Pathou.
Last year Pathou, who lives in Poplar, started a business course at St Patrick’s International College in the hopes of eventually starting his own import/ export business. Unfortunately, after he started his course he did not receive his student loan and because he was studying he could not receive any benefits.
“The reason why they didn’t pay my student finance was because I didn’t have the right ID,” explained Pathou. “Every office I was going to I was finding nobody would help me.”
Pathou did not know who to turn to, his debts spiralled, his rent arrears began to mount and he started to feel very depressed. In April Poplar HARCA, his housing provider, were concerned about his finances and referred him to the Rent Support Programme.
“I met Liz and we started having appointments, one by one, and it went great. At first I didn’t know, what’s this all about, and then she explained herself, she’s there for me, but I have to give 100% too, I have to be on it.”
Liz met with Pathou and found out why he was in rent arrears; together they made a plan to sort Pathou’s finances and his student loan. The language barrier was also a big problem for Pathou, who is originally from the Congo, and so Liz helped him to contact the relevant agencies.
“I was going through depression, I ran out of words, I didn’t know what to think, I was stressed, so she was doing all the talking for me.”
After discussing his options with Liz, Pathou decided to temporarily withdraw from his course and Liz helped him to make a claim for backdated housing benefit.
“We went to sort out my housing benefits forms, we went to the one stop shop, and we went to the Salvation Army just to get help with tin food, because I wasn’t getting no money, even JSA crisis loan, so I was struggling.”
“Some people just meet you in the office, that’s it innit, but they don’t come to your house and talk to you and find out more about you. If they started doing that more it would be a better place.”
Slowly Pathou managed to get on top of his rent arrears, but just as things were starting to look up, he had a road traffic accident.
“Liz came to see me in the hospital, she been a star innit. If it wasn’t for her I’d go through hell, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”
Although Liz’s visits helped Pathou to cope after the accident, he was left feeling very low. “I don’t feel the same after the accident, it’s not more depression. I was just feeling like it’s too much, I went from this depression, then I got run over and now I have to go through this.”
Pathou’s dad did not come and visit him the hospital as the two had not spoken in over a year. Liz realised Pathou would need to speak to his dad, not just so they could rebuild their relationship, but also in order to sort out his ID problems. Pathou needed a picture ID to receive his student loan, but the only identity documentation that Pathou held did not have his picture on. To apply for a passport or driving licence Pathou needed his birth certificate, which his father had.
“She spoke to my dad before I did. And my dad arranged it for us to meet up and my get my birth certificate.” Pathou and his dad are now speaking to each other and Pathou is looking forward to the future.
Pathou now feels a lot more confident and better able to contact other organisations if he needs help. He has also started seeking support from the charity Mind to help him with his depression. “Depression can kill you if you don’t have no one, but what Kineara did is like a doctor, you sent someone to help someone, and it does work.”
Pathou is now looking for a job so he can earn some money before returning to his course next year.
“Liz made everything possible for me, I’m very proud, I’m lucky. I would say to other people going through the same thing – don’t give up, keep going, keep supporting people, people need you innit. If she wasn’t there, I’d be in the streets right now.
“Right now I’m feeling better, I’m feeling alright, I just want to better my life.”