Our journey to a localities way-of-working, and ultimately getting to know each customer far better than we ever have done before, is naturally uncovering a multitude of situations which we didn't know about previously.
Occasionally the things we discover when building these trusting relationships leaves us in a difficult position especially when, at the core of what we do, is a passionate belief in people and what they can achieve. This was highlighted very pertinently recently in the case of 39-year-old Laura* from Daventry. Laura had been living in one of our properties for a number of years but it had been her husband on the tenancy agreement and, sadly, their relationship had broken down leaving Laura in the property alone and needing to claim Universal Credit because of multiple health issues.
When we started getting to know Laura and her situation, it quickly came to light that she had no tenancy agreement with Bromford and was living in a property too big for her individual needs. Beverley, the neighbourhood coach, was left with no other alternative than to issue an eviction order on Laura’s home.
Perhaps entirely understandably, Laura’s initial reaction was one of shock and despair. Beverley, along with fellow neighbourhood coach Ron, initially struggled to rekindle the kind of relationship they had initially established with Laura as she refused to engage or interact.
But, as tough a decision as it was, moving Laura from her current home was actually the beginning of a far more positive relationship with her landlord, not the unhappy ending one might expect.
Over time Beverley and Ron managed to persuade Laura that they were actually on her side, and slowly began the job of rebuilding the trust that had previously ebbed away. Through their meetings, Laura realised she needed to grasp the reality of the situation and contact the local authority about her impending homelessness. Having done this, she was then able to start bidding on other suitable properties in the area.
As this was happening, both neighbourhood coaches made their own enquiries and discovered that Laura had family in a nearby village on Ron’s patch where – as luck would have it – we had recently completed a new-build development where plenty of homes were becoming available to let.
Due to the family links and the urgency of Laura’s case, she was offered a one bedroom flat on the new-build estate shortly afterwards, which happened to be located just walking distance from her daughters own home.
“She was extremely anxious before viewing the property but I reassured her that it was absolutely ideal for her needs and I think it’s fair to say she was totally overwhelmed when she saw it for the first time. It was everything she’d hoped for,” Ron explained.
And since moving in, Laura is now enjoying a new lease of life with a community of friends and family around her.
Ron added: “It’s now a month or so on from Laura’s moving in and I think she’s realised that she might have taken a few steps back in having to leave her old property, but that she has ended up 10 steps forward in the new flat.
“Laura now sees her daughter and grandson daily and feels this has totally changed her life. I don’t think it’s overplaying it to say she is the happiest customer I’ve ever seen and she was incredibly grateful that we didn’t just evict her and forget about her, but that we actually wanted to work with her to find the right home for her.”