‘An unemployed Southend mum who has applied for more than 300 jobs has sold the contents of her home in order to get on top of her spiralling rent arrears.
Jobless Jack Monroe, 24, held the open house sale on Saturday, 18 August after being confronted with final notices and increasing arrears on utilities.
The mum of one worked at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for three years, in the Control room in Shenfield, and lived in a house with her partner in Southend. The relationship ended in October and she moved out into a two bedroom flat with her son, Jonny.
Jack resigned from the Fire Service in November last year, when she could no longer cope with the difficulty and cost of childcare.
She explained: “Eventually I resigned, off sick with stress, as I had no other option, and started to apply for jobs and look into any benefits I may be eligible for until I found work again. I qualified for Housing Benefit, but it was paid four weeks in arrears, so I started to fall behind with my rent.”
“Since then I’ve been catching up with rent arrears, utility bills that have been overlooked as I try to prioritise rent and food over electricity. I unplugged the TV months ago to save on a TV license and sold it this weekend for £30.”
“Not a week has passed when I haven’t been late with my rent. Although I am now paid Housing Benefit, it doesn’t cover my rent. I pay it weekly under an arrangement with my landlord at £167.31 a week, £141 of which is covered by Housing Benefit, and the rest I take out of Income Support and Child Benefit.”
The struggling mum has applied for 341 jobs since November but is yet to find an employer willing to commit to set hours for childcare arrangements.
Her novel take on a car boot sale has seen her raise £3002.49, allowing her to catch up on her rent and pay her electricity and water bills.
Jack added: “I thought about doing a car boot sale, but I don’t have a car, and the idea grew from there. Instead of taking my things to people to sell, I would invite people to my home instead. I created a Facebook event and invited my friends and before I knew it, I was seeing it cropping up everywhere. I put everything up for sale, except the fitted appliances that belonged to the landlord, and my bed, my sons bed, a capsule wardrobe each, 2 pairs of shoes and some kitchen essentials.”
Things for sale included her piano, two guitars, Denby and Wedgwood crockery, curtains, clothes, her iPhone, armchairs, coffee table and the bathroom storage units.
As her job hunt continues, Jack said: “In the meantime I’ve been volunteering as a PA just to feel like I’m doing something; to get up in the morning, put my ‘work clothes’ on and contribute something back to the community.”
People say its hard out there, but poverty isn’t just having no heating, or unplugging the fridge, or asking someone else to buy shoes for your child.”
“Poverty is the sinking feeling when your small boy finishes his breakfast and says ‘more please mummy, more bread and jam?’ as you’re wondering what else you can sell, and how to explain to a 2 year old that there is no bread or jam.”
Ms Jack Monroe, with a little help from the Essex Enquirer.