After weeks of desperately trying to manage her finances and struggling to pay bills, she finally managed to get Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit. Her rent was paid directly to her landlord.
However her landlord made it clear that he didn’t want anyone on benefits in his property, and he embarked on a campaign of harassment and abuse. He would enter the property during the night, break things and generally threaten her. He even destroyed the nursery Elin was preparing for her baby. She went to the council for advice as she was terrified and her situation was having an adverse effect on her pregnancy. She was told there was nothing they could do.
When she was 29 weeks pregnant Elin had to go on Maternity Allowance. This meant she no longer had Housing Benefit. The Maternity Allowance was nowhere near enough to pay the rent let alone other bills so she fell into arrears.
“I couldn’t get any money from anywhere else, and I was trapped. I had no food, no electricity and I was about to have my baby. I felt like a total failure. I asked the council for help and they told me it was intentional homelessness if I continued as I was and I had to pay my rent. I had nothing and I was treated awfully by the local authorities. Eventually I got in touch with Shelter Cymru. They wrote a letter to the council, helped me contact my MP and also gave me hope which I didn’t have.”
When Elin’s daughter was one month old she got the keys to a council house thanks to the support of Shelter Cymru and her local MP.
“Losing what I did when I was pregnant has had a long term effect on me. I still suffer from terrible anxiety and always have that thought that just one thing changing – my boss unfairly dismissing me – caused me to lose my car, my home and my health.”