Case study: Arabia

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Arabia was facing eviction because the mess in her house had become unmanageable.
She had lived in her home for 19 years and raised her three children there. Arabia has a number of serious health problems and very limited mobility. She is in a lot of pain most of the time.
Arabia had become confined to her living room where she slept on her reclining chair. Her son, who has autism and is selectively mute, was looking after her but was struggling to cope. Arabia hadn’t left the house in two-and-a-half years.
Unable to use the kitchen, mother and son were living on take-away food. Rubbish, including food packaging, was mounting up putting Arabia at risk from fire and pests. She was distrustful of the housing officers who came around to her house, suffered from panic attacks and wouldn’t engage with services.
“I was depressed because I couldn’t do anything for myself,” she said. “I didn’t trust anyone.”
The housing association contacted Horton Housing’s STAY at Home Bradford service to see if we could help. STAY at Home Bradford supports vulnerable people in their own home who are at risk of homelessness.
Bhavna, Arabia’s support worker, gradually built up her trust and helped her to hire a cleaning company to sort out the mess. The cleaning company was sensitive to Arabia’s situation and thoroughly cleaned and cleared the property. Arabia has now hired them to come in once a week to keep on top of the cleaning.
“I wouldn’t know where I would be without Bhavna; probably still in the same situation,” said Arabia. “At first I wouldn’t talk to her, I wouldn’t open the door.”
The house is now clean and tidy. Being able to access her kitchen means that Arabia can make a cup of tea, sandwiches and quick meals, and she is hoping to do some baking. She can also wash up and wash her clothes, although she has trouble standing for any length of time. Her landlord is now adapting her bathroom and hallway so that she can move around the house.
Her son is also getting support to help to claim benefits, so the household is more financially stable.
Last month, she went into Bradford city centre with her daughter for a cup of coffee and a look around the shops. She’s hoping to make a return visit soon.