Cost of living support

Colchester City Council is providing support for residents facing the cost of living crisis.

Case Study 5

A case study from the Private Sector Housing Team


  • Grants and Loan customer - What the team were able to do

Case Study 5- Grants and Loan customer

Mrs L is 79 and lives in rural Colchester, she suffers from poor eyesight, a stooped back and a broken heart from grieving her son that she lost suddenly.

In August last year, the Health and Housing Project received a referral from an Occupational Therapist (OT) who was concerned with the condition Mrs L’s home is in. The OT had been to see Mrs L after she had been referred to the service by a GP with regards to her back condition.

The OT made recommendations for Mrs L to help her feel more comfortable and get around her home independently. Unfortunately, Mrs L declined all help from the OT and found it very difficult to engage with the Occupational Therapist and Adult Social Services that were trying to help her.

The Health and Housing Project Officer visited Mrs L to see if she wanted any help from the council. She was adamant that she didn’t but agreed for the Health and Housing Project Officer to visit her home to determine whether we could offer her any assistance through our Grants and Loans service.

Mrs L’s windows were single glazed crittall windows causing a lot of heat loss and the property had no heating because the storage heaters were defective. Her front and back door were rotting which had been caused by the damp and mould. The bathroom was located downstairs and was in a poor condition. The bath was a falls risk to her, tiles were falling off the wall and the ceiling was covered in damp and mould.

Mrs L did not engage with the health and housing project officer and was very distressed when talking about potential help that she could receive.

As a follow up, the Health and Housing Project officer sent a letter to Mrs L confirming the outcome of the visit and again outlining the help the Council could offer her and how to make contact if she changed her mind.

A few months later, Mrs L contacted the Health and Housing Project officer asking if she could change her mind and decided she would like some assistance to help her get around her home easier.

The Health and Housing Project officer explained that the Council provide Home Repair Loans and Disabled Facility Grants for residents in Colchester and that this may be beneficial to her.

Mrs L asked to be referred to an Occupational Therapist again to make recommendations for her as she admitted she was struggling with using her kitchen and the bathroom. Mrs L decided she wanted to look in to a Home Repair Loan too.

An Occupational Therapist assessed Mrs L and said that she needs major adaptations to her kitchen and bathroom, this process has been started and confirmed and we are now waiting for quotes back for the works from contractors.

In regards to the Home Repair Loan, an officer has been to inspect Mrs L’s home and has prepared a schedule to replace all windows and doors, to rewire the property and install additional adequate heating in her home to avoid an excess cold hazard.

Both Grant and Loan will help Mrs L stay independent, safe and happy in her home and give her something positive to look forward to. Although she has been grieving for her son, the Health and Housing Project try to continue to support her and have helped her to feel more at ease by signposting her on to further services.

Whilst Mrs L wasn’t happy to engage at the beginning, once she had a real understanding that we were trying to help, she was more comfortable with interacting with the Project. Mrs L is one of many residents over 60 that suffers with loneliness and lack of supportive network around her. By referring her to the project Mrs L had a direct contact within the council and is able to contact that officer whenever she wanted or needed to.

One day she contacted the officer to let her know that she needed help with pest control as she had seen a mouse. She said that she would not be able to arrange pest control or even know where to find help if she had not been referred to the project. The Health and Housing Project Officer referred Mrs L to the pest control service and helped her with her mouse problem.

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