Lana’s story

Lana’s story is one of resilience, perseverance and the power of getting the right support.

Lana, along with her husband and four children, lived in a one-bedroom flat in social housing. Despite her persistent requests for rehousing, she was repeatedly told that her existing accommodation was adequate.

She said: “I tried to go to Barnet Homes to apply for a house, but they didn’t accept me. Every time they checked me, they said, ‘No, we can’t accept you’.”

The overcrowded conditions led to significant stress and discomfort among the whole family.


The house became so crowded, very crowded. Me and my husband, my kids, we were all so stressed, you know? We were not happy, and not feeling safe. It was a horrible, horrible life.


Her children suffered too. Her teenager couldn’t focus on their studies, and the baby’s cries kept everyone awake at night. The children were sleeping on sofa beds which gave them aches and pains and a bad night’s sleep – they struggled to get up for school in the mornings. They pleaded to move house.

Desperation led Lana to Citizens Advice Barnet, albeit with little hope.

“I didn’t believe they would help,” she said.


Advice through the food bank

We run outreach advice sessions at local food banks in the borough which is where Lana had been connecting with us. Encouraged by a friend, she decided to ask for help about the housing issue.

After she sat down with one of our outreach advisers at a local food bank her scepticism quickly turned to amazement.

Following Suzanne’s advice, Lana’s partner sent a detailed email to Barnet Homes, which finally landed in the right hands. Within two weeks, they sent someone round to do an assessment of their living situation.

Within a month, thanks to Susanne, there was significant progress on her case.

“Sixteen years struggling with one bedroom, one house. Within one month you finish everything,” she said.

The new home transformed their lives instantly.


Change for the better

She said: “Oh my God, me, my husband, my kids, I’m so happy. We don’t have that stress, we don’t cry. We are happy now. Everything is organised. We’re so happy, happy. Very happy.”

Her children now have their own rooms, proper beds, and a space where they can thrive.

“My relationship with my husband has become better now. We used to fight a lot because of this, but now we are settling down,” she said.

Reflecting on her journey, Lana remains in awe of the change.

“I would like to thank Suzanne, I would like to thank God. They sent me to the right place. Until now I can’t believe it. When I sit at my home, drinking coffee, watching TV, I feel like it’s a dream for me. Wow, that happened. Oh my God, I have a new house. I can’t believe it. Until now,” she said.

Her story stands as a symbol of hope for others in similar situations. Lana now encourages anyone in need to seek help from Citizens Advice Barnet.

She said: “Just yesterday, one lady, she talked to me, she called me, she said, ‘Lana, what did you do about your housing?’ I advised her to go to Suzanne.”

“She’s amazing. An angel,” she added.

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