How Housing Benefit changes will affect me – Sam’s story

May 27, 2015

SAM is just one young person at YMCA Humber who would be affected if Housing Benefit was removed in full from all 18 to 21 year olds.

“Six years ago I was living with my Mum and Dad in a nice house in Great Coates, at a nice school and everything seemed fine”

However, this changed when Sam’s parents split up. Faced with a difficult decision, Sam decided to stay with his Dad so he could remain in the area to continue his studies at his existing school. This seemed to be working out until they moved in with his Dad’s new partner and her family.

Feeling isolated, Sam began suffering with serious bouts of depression and this eventually led to him having a break down and being admitted to hospital. Sam’s struggle with his mental health issues and a breakdown in his relationship with his Dad and new family eventually led to him being kicked out.

Unable to move in with him Mum and with only £200 to his name, Sam got the train to Huddersfield to move in with Grandma and begin rebuilding his life. However once the local authority found out about him living with his Grandma in her one bedroom council house and being told that was not entitled to any support due to lacking a local connection or not being in priority need, he was sent back to Grimsby.

“I had everything set and ready and then they sent me back to Grimsby – I had to give up a college place and everything to come here and start again”

Upon returning to Grimsby, the support he was promised was not forthcoming and Sam was forced to go to the YMCA for emergency accommodation – where he has been for the past six months.

Reluctant to go on Employment Support Allowance as he wants to find work and overcome his health issues, Sam is currently claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and actively seeking work. Despite wanted to get into a career as a mechanic, Sam is currently applying for all the jobs he can to gain work experience and is about to begin volunteering with a local charity.

“At the minute I’m searching for anything and everything that I can potentially do but it’s easy enough looking for work, it’s a hell of a lot harder getting it. I’ve applied for apprenticeships, jobs and all sorts and it’s just a case of waiting to hear back from them.”

Despite his current struggles finding work, Sam doesn’t know where he would be without the support Housing Benefit is providing him with.“Without Housing Benefit I would be screwed, there wouldn’t have been anywhere I could go, it would have been the streets.”

“What about the people who have no choice, what about the people who have got nowhere to go but places like the YMCA , it’s a roof over your head which for most people is only payable with the help of Housing Benefit. Without Housing Benefit there would be a lot more people on the streets.”

Sign up to support our manifesto where we ask for Housing Benefit to be protected here.