Dear readers it appears that winter is most definitely on the way. Today was very cold and wet a deadly combination for street homeless people and people that can’t afford to heat their home.
Sadly I also know what it feels like when the electric goes and you can’t top it up. Solidarity with all those in the same position, its not one bit enjoyable. Anyway I digress.
Today there was a lot of people waiting for the food parcels to arrive. Each and every one of these food parcels were needed and some of those collecting them hadn’t ate properly for a while.
It’s easy to fall between the cracks of society and not deemed important enough to help. Many don’t like to ask for help because they don’t feel that they’re deserving of it. Some are barred from local organisations for various different reasons. This makes life very hard for them. Others have had their allowed three foodbank vouchers and have been refused anymore. Can you imagine being in their position?
My first conversation was with a man that I’ve been talking to every week. He usually brings his dog when he collects his food parcel, his dog is lovely and he takes really good care of him. He told me that he’s hoping that his latest job application is successful and I gave him my best wishes. He deserves so much better than this.
After I handed out the food parcels a young woman asked me of she could speak to me privately. She told me that her health isn’t good at the moment and being homeless doesn’t help, telling me that later today she will be going to the walk in centre to hopefully get some medication. I gave her some money for a phone charger because her phone is her lifeline not only to the DWP but to her children and friends.
I really hope that she’s ok because she’s really not well at all.
Today we had various conversations about lots of different things, one matter kept popping up and that was council tax payments and visits from bailiffs.
I gave the best advice that I could but its awful when the person that you’re speaking to is crying because they’re scared. I was speaking to a lovely woman that told me she was absolutely terrified of the bailiffs banging on her door and windows.
It’s very easy for someone to fall into council tax arrears and a universal credit application was to blame in this case. Because of the long wait for her universal credit payment to be processed she fell into arrears with just about everything.
After her latest bailiff visit she went into the council offices to see if she could arrange a payment plan with her. Their answer was a flat no. No they wouldn’t help, no they wouldn’t stop the bailiffs from coming. Even though she was offering a reasonable repayment plan they denied her any assistance. They did however tell her to go to citizens advice and ‘they might’ be able to contact the council tax department.
This has not helped her one bit,she’s living in fear and she’s scared. I gave her some sound advice and told her that she can contact me if she needs to.
Although I am very aware of what the council can and can’t do in situations like this their refusal to help speaks volumes doesn’t it. So many people live in fear of bailiffs coming to their homes and sometimes barging in.
This shouldn’t be happening. The current council tax scheme is a punishing system. It .demands that people pay an unreasonable amount of money when they can’t afford it.
Council also costs more to implement than what local councils gain from it. It’s not working and this system needs to stop asap.
No one should be living in fear in their own homes, scared when the bailiffs come banging on doors and windows or barging their way into their home.
I’m also very aware of the laws surrounding council tax so please no comments saying that I don’t know how the system works. I know only too well how it works and I’ve been campaigning against it for years now.
I had a conversation with a lovely young man, he asked me what we were doing and I replied. He told me that he really didn’t know anything about politics but he’d like to learn more. We had a good chat and hopefully he will be more aware in the future.
This did raise my concern about the lack of public education regarding politics. It’s not taught as much in school as it should be and many people, like this young man aren’t as aware as they should be.
We need to educate those that aren’t aware by conversation but I believe that children should be given some political education whilst at school.
I then had a second conversation regarding council tax, and not long after another. I offered some advice and signposted to the best of my ability.
We then had a long conversation with a woman who’s homeless. She was worried because she needs to change her care of address but didn’t want to be thrown onto universal credit as a result.
To say shes scared and worried is an understatement. The words universal credit often cause people to panic. John was extremely helpful and helped this lovely woman whilst I was helping someone else. We did everything in our power to help her but thank you John.
I can’t thank the team enough today, the weather was awful but that didn’t prevent us from helping lots of people. We will be back again next week, please come and join us!
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