Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Moving the Invisible.

We're moving again.

Not too far, just somewhere in the same town. When we moved back a couple of years ago where we were staying was only temporary but the lack of treatment Jr received meant he didn't feel ready to move on for a long time but he does now.

You wouldn't think it would be too hard to find someone willing to rent us a place as we have cash for the deposit and first couple of months rent and we've got absolutely perfect references from our two previous landlords. But it is.

You'd think there's be people, baring in mind Jr's condition, able to offer help finding somewhere. Well the local council could only offer us places that would, frankly, scare the life out of Jr. Don't take this the wrong way, we're not being snobby or anything, but his phobias mean a lot of things scare him so a loud, somewhat violent, estate is out of the question.

Then we tried the local YES (Youth Enquiry Service). With Jr fitting comfortably into their age remit I thought if I went down and explained the situation they may be able to advise me. Did they heckers like! The bloke I saw was just plain ignorant and at first refused to help at all because Jr had me to look after him. Even though I explained his mental conditions the prat said that he would only offer any advise if Jr came in on his own and wanted a place on his own. Er, excuse me you pillock, if I wasn't caring for him he would be in a bloody residential home. OK, I was far more polite than that but my thoughts were far less polite. Finally, like getting blood out of a stone, he gave me a phone number. Turned out to be a 'deposit guarantee scheme', which as we have a deposit was no help.

I phoned various other organisations but there was always some excuse as to why they couldn't help, or on occasion helpful people who simply couldn't help. You may be wondering why I haven't mentioned the local MHU (actually if you've read this blog before you probably aren't). Well I started there and believe it or not the ONLY help they could offer was to give me the number of the local council's benefit advise line. Really, an MHU that provides NO help or advise with housing?

Yeah, sod it, we're on our own again. Off down the High Street.

As (at least in part) the rent will be paid by housing benefits that shuts many doors. The outdated (and now technically incorrect) mantra of 'No DSS' is alive and well in this town. Even a cast iron guarantor doesn't seem to make a difference to most agencies, and we need to go through an agency rather than a private landlord because of the extra security that gives Jr.. Finally we found one (agent) who was willing to be helpful and willing to put our case to owners but she advised that having 'a job' would make it so much easier.

OK, lesson learnt. I have a friend who runs a business who has been kind enough to provide me with a letter saying I'm starting work there soon so we can just bluff it and the landlord need never know. A bit naughty but you do what you must.

We are the invisible people. We are the ones that people want to shove in a corner and forget about. We're not looking to live in luxury in a 5 bed detached on housing benefit, merely a simple 2 bed flat in a not horrendous area. In fact the places we've been looking at actually come in comfortably under the new benefit cap, even in this affluent area.

Thankfully the agent we're dealing with now has taken the trouble to find out exactly what we need. That in itself is difficult as (for instance) we went to see one place yesterday that on paper could have been perfect, but when we got there I noticed something abstract that would have made it a very difficult place for Jr to live. Despite my reasons probably sounding strange to the lady, she accepted it immediately and even suggested another property we were planning to see would probably fail for the same reason. In fact I've nothing but praise for this young lady who seems to be willing to spend an absolutely inordinate amount of time getting round our situation and hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll be on the move.

But, why should something so simple be so difficult for one so vulnerable? Yet again I'm sickened by the uncaring attitude we have to face. One agent, although they certainly didn't say it in so many words, made it fairly obvious that Jr being handicapped meant we wouldn't be renting from them. As soon as I mentioned who/why the second person renting would be his attitude changed completely and it was obvious the way it was going.

We just want somewhere basic to live. Is that too much?

As always one thought burns in my mind. Jr has me to take the stress and sort this out, but what about all those with no one effective to do that for them?