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Meet Michelle - financial advice


In September 2018, Michelle Rowe was offered a mutual exchange and needed some assistance resettling in her area.

Although Universal Credit was being rolled out, Michelle’s new postcode wasn’t directly affected at the time, so she was advised to complete a housing application to receive housing benefit. Four weeks later, Michelle received an acknowledgement that her housing benefit application had been received, but was told she now needed to apply for Universal Credit.

Michelle suffers from anxiety and was confused with the mixed messages. Kevin Olusesi, one of our tenancy sustainment officers, visited Michelle and helped her with the application, including arranging visits to her local job centre to verify the process and her identification.

I don't think I would have been able to do this on my own, but Clarion were there to help me.


Clarion resident

After several weeks, Michelle had completed all the relevant forms to ensure her Universal Credit claim was valid.

“At first, it was a pain trying to sort all the various forms out, but with the help of Clarion and Kevin I don’t have any problems with it at all now. Kevin has been great from the start: I suffer from anxiety, so it was all very daunting, especially when you’re used to doing something one way for so long and then face a change. But everyone was really supportive.”

Because we offer residents budgeting advice and can set up direct debits so they come out the day Universal Credit is paid, Michelle was able to successfully manage her bills and ensure her rent was paid on time.

“I organise my money, everything gets paid. I’m so much better off. I don’t think I would have been able to do this on my own. I tend to get stressed with letters, phone calls and appointments, but Clarion were there to help me and have helped a lot. I don’t know what I would have done without Kevin. There are help and support services out there, you just need to ask.”

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