This year has been tough for everyone but to find yourself homeless and using a foodbank during a pandemic is another level of stress.
Paul Boden and his husband Paul (PB) were left with nowhere to live after their landlord decided to change their home of 11 years into an HMO.
Paul said: “We were devastated and at a loss as to who to turn to. I had had a triple heart bypass with complications over Christmas 2019, which led to severe post-op depression meaning I should endure no stress whatsoever.”
Lockdown hit had hit the Warrington couple hard. PB lost his job, Paul had his hours as a bus driver cut drastically, eventually leading to furlough. But the rent and bills still needed to be paid.
PB said: “My physical and mental health started to suffer and as I was not entitled to a Universal Credit Advance, I applied to Warrington Council for some help. I gratefully received vouchers to help pay utility bills and redeem at the local food bank in Warrington.
“If somebody would have said last year that I would have to visit a foodbank in 2020 just to feed myself, I would not have believed it. I said to one of the volunteers as I left with my bags of food, ‘One day when I get back into work, I am going to give you a donation to help you continue what you are doing’.”
In the 1980s, PB had lived with his mother at Warrington Housing Association’s Ireland Blackburne House. One of Paul’s work colleagues had also urged them to contact WHA to see if they could help.
He said: “I was aware of the good name WHA had, with its reputation for looking after their tenants and the upkeep of their homes while ploughing profits into new affordable housing. We corresponded regularly with Liz, a Customer Service Adviser and the rest of the WHA team and for the first time in a long time we genuinely felt someone wanted to help us out of our predicament.”
The couple had spotted a small unfinished two-storey WHA development of 10 apartments by the side of Sankey Valley Park.
Paul said: “We just fell in love with Wimborne Close and hoped we would be offered one of the apartments – preferably on ground floor due to my ongoing heart problems. We were one of the first three apartments to move in in September. It felt wonderful with our own private garden capturing the sun all day, overlooking a picturesque park. With WHA as our landlords, we can finally relax.”
PB, now a customer order processor for M&S, said as a thank you for the support they got, they wanted to make a £100 donation to Warrington Food Bank.
He added: “We cannot thank WHA enough. Liz mentioned WHA supports the work of Warrington Food Bank and now we are both back working full time, we wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody for their friendly, non-judgmental approach. So, we thought it only fitting that, on behalf of WHA, we made a donation to help other people who have been hit hard with Covid-19 and are still struggling to make sure they have at least one hot meal a day.
“WHA helped my mum out in the early 80s by offering us quality accommodation, and they have triumphed again when it was our hour of need. I cannot express how highly we regard their ethics, understanding, humour and general warmth they have in helping others.”
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