When Ciara rang Threshold, she was desperate. Ciara and her daughter Lilly, a toddler, had received a rent hike out of the blue. Her landlord claimed it was all above board, and that it was the going rate for similar rental properties in the area. Ciara simply couldn’t afford the rent hike. She was just about managing with the rising costs of food and energy and didn’t know how they’d make it through Winter.
Once I stopped crying, I started searching Daft, Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups, I even contacted my local TD. When I heard nothing back, that’s when it hit me, there was nowhere to go in our area, or even further afield..
Gareth, a member of our team investigated and discovered that the rent hike was illegal, even though they were not living in a Rent Pressure Zone, and rental properties in the area were skyrocketing. The properties used by the landlord for comparison were very different from the small house Ciara was renting for the past six years. Gareth also informed Ciara that she was entitled to HAP.
It was all so surreal, to discover my landlord was trying to take advantage of us. We were so happy when we realised, I qualified for HAP and that we could stay in our home. Before this, I didn’t really understand HAP. I assumed you had to be unemployed to be eligible for it.
HAP helps you to pay the rent, through your local authority, while you pay your weekly differential rent to your local authority. You need to be included on a local authority housing waiting list in order to qualify. There are lots of people like Ciara who are entitled to HAP but just don’t realise it, and we were just so relieved we could find a solution for Ciara.
Because of Gareth and all at Threshold, my little girl has a home and sleeps in her own bed at night. They spared us from having to turn up at homeless accommodation, our lives reduced down to a few small bags. I couldn’t bear the thoughts of it. I’m just so grateful, so relieved.