Vulnerable Sheffield council tenant pushed ‘over the edge’ by letter threatening eviction over three weeks rent
A vulnerable Sheffield council tenant needed A&E treatment after being pushed ‘over the edge’ by a letter threatening eviction over three weeks rent.
Darrien Justice, aged 26, was in Sheffield Council care until he was 18, receiving support until he was 25.
He has suffered mental health issues, developing a fear of leaving his council home which led to finacial problems. He was ordering takeaway food when unable to get supermarket deliveries.
He owed the council £277 – three weeks rent – and received a letter threatening eviction.
It resulted in an act of self harm, leaving him needing hospital treatment after mental health workers discovered what had happened.
Darrien, who lost an apprenticeship over mental health issues, said: “I was in local authority care from 14 to 18. When the money stops, they don’t care about you any more. It wasn’t great that my case was closed with the council, just before the coronavirus pandemic started.”
He said he was well looked after during his time in a children’s home, but felt now there was no money for the council to look after him, he was just another number.
He said the letter from the housing department left him in despair.
Darrien lives on benefits
Realising he was in trouble with housing, he applied for a council crisis grant. It was rejected.
Darrien feels it is a small amount of money to be threatening someone with eviction over, and does not understand why he was not treated as a crisis case.
He added: “After I reached 26, I was completely abandoned. I’m not great at budgeting because of a borderline personality disorder which makes me very impulsive.
“They want to take my home off me for £277.30,” he said. “If it’s happened to me, it’s probably happening to others as well.”
In an email seen by The Star, Sheffield Council said Darrien’s crisis grant application didn’t fit the purpose of the scheme.
They told him a neighbourhood officer would contact him to discuss supporting him around money management and a food parcel.
They added they had made contact with mental health services, who they said told them they could provide assistance with food banks and support.
Sheffield City Council has been contacted for comment.