Here is a report from our Caseworker, Yiannis Voyannis:
Ms B had been facing problems with her electricity supplier, British Gas (she owed them about £280). She is a young single mother whose only income is in the form of benefits, and whose 5 year old son suffers from serious health problems including urinary incontinence, developmental delays and low vitamin D.
We helped her apply to the British Gas Energy Trust for financial assistance, and mentioned to the Trust Ms B’s abysmal housing situation, namely the rodent infestation which has become a serious hazard to her and her children’s health. Her son was bitten by mice and had to go to hospital as a result, and she has told us that when the family are watching tv they cannot put their feet on the floor otherwise they will get bitten by mice. She has been asking Camden council (the landlord) to deal with the problem since she moved in in 2007.
We also mentioned the rent which Camden council had charged her before the place had been made habitable, while refusing to provide Housing Benefit for the flat, resulting in her falling into arrears.
In recognition of these very serious problems, the Trust awarded Ms B a cheque of £306.52 payable to the London Borough of Camden, to go towards her rent arrears.
We have also complained to Camden about the above housing related issues, but have yet to receive any positive response from them.