Dennis Story

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Dennis contacted us directly as he had become increasingly frustrated with the Housing Association he rents his property from and felt he had no-one to turn to.

Dennis is a long-term tenant of the Housing Association and he had waited over 5 years for renovation work to be done on his property. Although work had begun, it was not complete, he was left with a mess and the relationship with the Housing Association had broken down completely. Dennis felt this was a direct result of a lack of understanding of his mental health issues, problems with communication and a lack of respect towards him.

The advocate spent time listening to Dennis’s experience, gathering information about what had happened so far, how Dennis felt and what he needed to happen next to move forward successfully. The advocate then liaised with the Housing Association on Dennis’s behalf and ensured they were aware of the need to plan and communicate effectively to complete the outstanding work without negatively impacting further on Dennis’s mental wellbeing. The work completed and Dennis then felt motivated to spruce things up and is now feeling very comfortable in his newly decorated and furnished home – his safe space.

As Dennis felt strongly about his treatment by the Housing Association, the advocate supported him to make a complaint to the Housing Association and to contact his local MP about his case. The local MP was keen to support Dennis and referred the matter to the Housing Ombudsman. Dennis feels that his voice has been heard and hopes this will positively influence the quality of service provided by this Housing Association for other tenants.

The advocate also explored other issues that were causing difficulty for Dennis and this led to liaison with local mental health services to request a review of his diagnosis, medication and support needs. In Dennis’s own words, this was ‘transformational’ as with his new diagnosis he had an explanation and understanding of things he had found challenging and anxiety-provoking throughout his whole life. Also, a report was produced by mental health services that could be distributed to other organisations, including his GP and the Housing Association, to assist with effective communication in the future.

Whilst the advocate was working with Dennis, his PIP benefit came up for renewal and he asked for help with the form. The advocate arranged an appointment with Citizens’ Advice Bureau and supported him in a meeting with them to complete the form appropriately. The information from mental health services and the advocate’s understanding of Dennis proved very useful in helping him to articulate the challenges he faces for the benefit renewal.

Denis’s determination to have his voice heard is inspirational and his commitment to providing the Housing Association with the gift of well-articulated feedback will undoubtedly help others.