Olusola* was left struggling to look after her newborn baby and two young children and keep a roof over their heads after her husband was placed in custody. A Spurgeons family support worker noticed that Olusola seemed upset during a visit and sat with her to find out how she was. Olusola revealed that, having previously not had any control or knowledge over family finances, she had found a letter advising the family of their imminent eviction. She also told the worker that her family’s immigration status was under review and she felt it would cause her young children much distress if she told them their daddy was in prison.
Spurgeons moved quickly to put support in place for Olusola. We made a series of targeted interventions including a referral to social care services and another telephone assessment with the Housing Service whilst Olusola was still in the Visitors’ Centre. We then arranged a meeting with Housing to assess her situation. As a result of these actions, social care services undertook a visit to Olusola within 24 hours, arranged benefits payments for her and secured a loan from the local authority based on an emergency assessment so that she could buy food for the family. Next, Spurgeons provided details and information of immigration lawyers to work through issues around the family’s status in the country, providing ongoing support while her husband was in custody.
These interventions were successful, the family stayed in their house temporarily before more permanent accommodation was secured, Olusola was able to feed her family and they felt more able to communicate with immigration agencies. By linking Olusola and her family with other agencies and developing a rapid response plan for their care and wellbeing, we were able to be there for them at a crucial moment.
* Names changed to protect identities