Gina is a 57 year old lady with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. She experiences panic attacks and finds it challenging to liaise with organisations such as her landlord.

Gina had raised a complaint, with the aid of a friend, about the work standards of building contractors in her rented home and how the housing association had dealt with the issue. She had been waiting for a response about the complaint, and for the outstanding work in her property to be completed for some time. Gina felt that she was being ignored by her landlord, and was too overwhelmed to continuously chase them.

Gina contacted POhWER after discovering that her local council had appointed POhWER to provide Community Advocacy in her area.
Gina informed Joe, POhWER’s Community Advocate, that she needed help to liaise with her landlord. Gina wanted the outstanding work to be completed, compensation for carpet that had been damaged during the works, and access to further information held by the housing association.

Gina talked to Joe about what she wanted to happen. Gina said that due to the behaviour of male contractors during previous visits, she wanted a female chaperone present – Gina had already requested this numerous times, with no reply from her landlord. Gina was also reluctant to have the outstanding work checked by the contractors as when work was previously checked the contractor said they saw any further assessments as “time wasting”.

Joe himself experienced difficulty in contacting the housing association. Replies from the newly appointed complaints officer were vague and of little help. The complaints officer was adamant that for any further work to be completed, an officer would have to visit Gina’s home to reassess the work. Gina was reluctant to agree to this, so Joe proposed to meet Gina in person so he could understand the complaint and the outstanding work. From this informed basis, Joe agreed with Gina a proposed set of actions for the landlord, which were:

  1. Unfulfilled request to receive details of the information held on Gina by the landlord to be responded to as soon as possible
  2. An outcome for Gina’s complaint. She had been told that this had to wait until all work was completed, but couldn’t see why as the outstanding work is not linked to the previous work
  3. Clarity as to the complaint responses provided by the contracted workers.

Joe suggested that having a contractor reassess the work, with a female chaperone, would be the quickest way to get the work completed and the complaint resolved.

Once the request drafted by Joe was received by the housing association, Gina received a detailed response. She was extremely happy with the proposed actions and the response from the housing association.

As a result of community advocacy (which is not available from all councils) Gina received protection from discrimination, an increased voice and increased personal control.