A client of Polish origin who had been living with his partner in their current flat for about 1 ½ years. The property was in a poor condition – part of the ceiling damp from incoming water when it rained; bathroom tiles not placed high enough so the adjoining walls would get damp; central heating not working; and no locks to a side gate which led to the clients flat. The client had tried to get the estate agency managing the property to carry out repairs, with no luck. We contacted the agency managing the property, arranged to meet the agents staff at the property to list all the items which needed repairing. Through our involvement, the repairs were carried out. The couple said: “We are so happy that we now live in a healthier and more comfortable property because of help from H-CAS”.
A lady who had lived in a refugee camp in Africa for over 6 years before coming to the UK as a refugee. B had done various short nursing courses while in her country and in the refugee camp. B had been unable to get a job because of language barrier; lack of work experience in the UK; and lack of confidence. We had been searching for jobs for the client online and through phone contact. By communicating with her in Swahili, encouraging her and sometimes even speaking to prospective employers to explain her position, we were able to secure for B short term agency jobs. We were also able to secure for her an interview for a care assistant’s position. She was unsuccessful, but stated that “I am grateful that H-CAS’s support has given me the confidence to apply for jobs and to interact more confidently”.
A man of Iraqi origin with refugee status in the UK. C, who is married and with three children, had suffered injury while at work. He then claimed Employment & Support Allowance (ESA). After submission of his claim, it took over 2 weeks before he even got an acknowledgement. Each time he tried to ring the department dealing with his claim, the staff would tell him that he had failed their security checks & could not proceed with his enquiries. This was quite frustrating for C, and worrying as he had a family to provide for. He contacted H-CAS, and through our guidance and discussions with the concerned department; his ESA claim was granted after almost 2 months from the time he had applied. He said that “I am so pleased that through the help of H-CAS, I was able to access public services better”.
A seriously ill Syrian man from the local refugee community recently had his benefit claim turned down. This was a claim for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) – the benefit for people who are unable to work due to illness or disability. On failure to get the decision reversed, we supported the client (in liaison with one of our partner agencies) to appeal the decision in the Tribunal. The Tribunal found that the client is entitled to the ESA benefit. The client was very thankful for our support, saying that the decision would enable him and his family to maintain themselves and avoid getting into accumulated debts.
An elderly single lady who lives on her own, and can barely communicate in English had a dispute with a major utility company which had been supplying her with electricity. The company insisted that she should pay a big electricity bill which we felt was incorrect, considering the clients circumstances and payment records. On failure to resolve the matter for our client with the utility company, we supported her in lodging a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman Services. The company, in the process, found that they were the ones who owed our client hundreds of Pounds, which they paid. The Ombudsman Services also found failings on the company’s part for which they were asked to issue an apology to our client and pay compensation for poorly handling the complaint. Our client was so appreciative, saying that this had given her relief from her distress, and prays that our service at H-CAS will continue.
One of our clients, also from the refugee community, successfully trained, then applied for licensing to be able to seek employment in the security industry. The licensing authority not only failed to register our client for reasons not of his doing, but also insisted that he submits a fresh application and pays the application fees of over £200 again. Through our support, the authority reimbursed the 2nd fee payment to our client. We also supported the client in getting his registration which has now enabled him to seek employment in the industry he wanted to work in – the security industry. He was pleased with the outcome, saying that through support from H-CAS, he was able to improve his employability, as a result of which he will be able earn his own income and support his family.