Brighton and Hove A Housing Crisis Gone Too Far?

This week I have been inundated with messages from people locally who are literally at crisis point, and with the recent Council Housing Waiting List cull Brighton and Hove City Council must be inundated with appeals from people desperate to stand a change of securing a secure home.

There is no denying that the tories have well and truly banged the final nail in the coffin, this is evident in documentaries around homelessness. The right to buy was a killer policy for the vulnerable and hard working class, whilst they did allow many to move forward and own there own home, many were sold and are now collecting revenues from Housing benefit payments, not going back into society but instead to private landlords.

With Neil Vowles from the Argus reporting today that letting agents are charging up to £660 in letting fees and the recent decision to cut the councils deposit guarantee scheme, how are those affected ever able to find a home.

Brighton and Hove Housing Crisis Infogram

Housing Waiting List

We know many have been removed I estimate well over 10,000. Certainly we need a figure and soon from the labour council, I call on all members to oppose this new allocations policy which was devised by council officers and signed off by Labour, the greens passed some amendments and in the end were forced to go with this on an initial review basis.

I am personally collating evidence which would be useful to overturn this barbaric cull from a so called democratic socialist council, its evident we need to have a firmer hand in housing decisions locally and councillors willing to stand up for Brightonians who for too long have been taken for granted.

We are being moved out of the city at an alarming rate, we had the sad news today another person from the streets has died and regular emergency services dispatches to emergency accommodation buildings, not to mention the fact ceilings and buildings are crumbling at the seams.

The fact is the only people who benefit from this new allocations policy are the temporary accommodation private limited companies who are deliberately keeping people in benefit traps and in unaffordable accommodation, these are the people who benefit from this policy the private rental sector, which includes those who pay absolutely NO UK tax.

Where is the justice in that?

What Can You Do To Help?

I have quite a few cases now which need to be highlighted in a way which really shows the devastating effect this is having on peoples lives, some of whom have also been hit by the recent Tory scandal of a policy the brutal benefit cap.

An attack on families and more importantly single parents.

I am looking to do a video and need a socialist to capture the essence of these peoples stories and how this has further isolated them any sense of content and true happiness in a safe home of their own.

If you can help get in touch.

 

Also I am looking to launch a campaign to get this policy scrapped, and an immediate consultation with those removed.

Over 10,000 people deserve a voice, it was only last year I was telling people more people with a mortgage responded at over 20% compared to those who are homeless, only 4%.

There were also lies saying the LGBT Community were consulted on this at the Community Safety Forum, this was not true, the intention might have been to discuss that, but in fact the person breached data protection and discussed a live case in front of the whole forum, not even discussing the allocations policy, but thats another story.

Standing up for the LGBT Community

I’ve been shocked at the number of LGBT people suffering from this policy and having listened to many of there personal stories and their life challenges, it got me wondering are we as a council really putting equality at the heart of polices, because when it comes to housing certainly not.

If you are LGBT and have been affected by the new allocations policy, get in touch via the contact form above.

Appeal Letter Templates

With the many messages I am getting from those desperate not to be removed is the burden to help, so I will be getting some template letters done to help the most vulnerable who cannot deal with this shock right now.

I understand its hard, many are taken aback with grief and fear of the continues sacrifices they have to make, cramped conditions, health worries, unliveable mould pits, the future seems bleak, but we have a chance to change this and get this policy scrapped.

Check back for updates or email me and I will put you on the list to send to when they are complete.

You are fighting for your families and you are fighting for a home in Brighton and Hove, the city many of you love and were born.

Brighton Image view
1 in 5 People On The Council Waiting List is Over 55

1000’s of home seekers taken off the housing waiting list in Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove City Council have begun the council housing waiting list cull, announced back in November 2015 the new allocations policy was designed to remove home seekers by cutting thousands of people from the register.

With some 25,000 people on the list and with a distinct a lack of truly affordable housing being build, the labour council decided to strengthen the allocations policy by setting harsher polices around who can be on the register.

800 properties become available each year in Brighton and Hove and the council decided rather than build more homes to instead cut people off the housing list. No more waits, no more hope!

Letters from the council are starting to hit peoples door mats

I have been contacted by one source who tells me he lives in a home with multiple occupancy with 9 other people currently, he said “I have to also share a toilet and bathroom”. The person who is currently so down that he has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety claims his Dr has sent the council supporting evidence so cannot understand why they have removed him from the register.

My source said “I fled domestic violence and feel there is stigma associated with men who suffer domestic violence”, should people like my source be left to live in victorian squaller? He advised me that he had previously lived in the cities emergency accommodation but had to leave because the living conditions were so bad and it was affecting his mental health.

So what are the key changes

If you have failed to bid in the last 12 months then its bye bye I am afraid.

  • That the criteria for being a qualifying person include those who have lived in the area continuously for five years preceding the date they make their application, and at least 2 years immediately preceding this date (with the same exceptions provided for in the draft policy)

Currently I am still in the dark as to what the affect is going to be but by judging from above, I think there will be many stories yet to come.

Can You Appeal?

Yes! even if you don’t think so still appeal on the basis that you have not been aware of how to bid on homemove and that you lost your number, simply ask for a new number and ensure you bid regularly.

Have you got a story?

If you have just had a letter on the door mat and want to highlight your story, I would be happy to listen and point you in the right direction, this is a cruel way to shatter peoples hopes for a home of there own. Email me: daniel@survivorblog.co.uk

Tory Lite Labour Council Endorse New 5 Year Local Connection Rule

Firstly of the 450 or so consulted, only 16 were homeless, which is 3%. This is wrong considering much of this legislation affects the homeless, especially the homelessness duty, which is affected by the Local Connection rule change.

When I say Tory lite, I mean this how it should be meant, the Tory Governement are currently destroying social housing and you guessed it Labour Councillors roll over to the unelected council officers demands by increasing the current 2 year rule on local connection for council housing waiting lists rising to 5 years.

Councillor Meadows said;

“Demand massively outstrips supply in the city so it’s right that our housing register recognises this huge demand, is realistic and prioritises those in greatest need.

The rise in luxory housing

Look down the coast down toward the Marina you see two new apartment blocks, aimed at the richest in society, there are plans for an even bigger tower, which will be much of the same.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will see a rise in council houses, these planning decisions are against the party direction now and must be stopped.

What is the proposal change in housing allocations

The report states that “Over the past 5 years the Housing Register has continued to grow and now stands at over 24,000 applicants. In the last financial year just over 800 properties were let to people on the Housing Register. Figures of the growth over the last 10 years are contained in table 1 below. The number of applications remained static for the period April 2007 to April 2010. From this point on there is an increase year on year to the end of the last financial year to 23,419.”

This is the current number of bands and length on the waiting list.

Housing Allocations Council List Brighton and Hove 2016

Whilst I acknowledge that there is a huge waiting list, but with rents so high, the councils and governments plan to put people in the Private Rental Sector is not workable and is in fact contributing to pushing up rents, its a simple supply and demand issue and we need to build more council housing.

Housing allocations proposals to strengthen focus on local need

A report going to Brighton & Hove City Council’s Housing & New Homes Committee on 21 September 2016 recommends updating the city’s housing allocations policy. Councillors will discuss proposals which aim to help ensure the council can house residents in the greatest housing need.

A consultation on the council’s allocations policy, carried out from December 2015 to February 2016, showed broad support from residents and partner organisations on the priorities for updating the scheme.

The main changes proposed aim to reduce the numbers on the housing register by limiting it to people in high housing need who do not have the means to satisfy and provide solutions for themselves, and strengthening the local residential connection requirement from two years to five, with some exemptions that we are legally required to have.

While the council allocates around 800 properties a year, the housing register continues to grow and has now over 24,000 applicants. With the high costs of managing such a large waiting list and a relatively few having a chance of housing, it’s recognised that the current scheme is not necessarily housing our residents in the most housing need. It also raises expectations that we are not able to meet.

Cllr Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said: “Demand massively outstrips supply in the city so it’s right that our housing register recognises this huge demand, is realistic and prioritises those in greatest need.

“We are doing everything we can to provide new affordable homes in the city, including building 500 new council homes. However, it’s important to recognise that this is against a background of growing need, and we need a more efficient allocations scheme to help make sure we can focus on those residents who need it most.”

If approved, the new policy will be applied immediately to all new applications. All current applications will be reassessed under the new criteria, which is expected to take until March 2017.

The Other Main Changes To The Allocations Policy for Brighton and Hove City Council

The new draft allocations policy has made a number of key changes that were consulted on widely with residents, community group, service providers and applicants. The key changes are:

  • Change to local connection : increased to five years residency from the current two, with a number of exemptions required
  • Exclude people with no housing need under the allocations policy
  • Exclude home owners
  • Introduce an income cap based on bedroom size
  • Exclude people with rent arrears or other related debt to the council, with some exceptions?
  • Exclude people who have disposed of a property purchased from the council under the right to buy
  • Remove applicants if they have not made a bid within 12 months
  • Remove applicants who refuse one offer of suitable accommodation
  • Remove band C Minor Medical and Band C sharing facilities & Minor disrepair
  • Introduce anti fraud checks prior to offering a tenancy
  • Introduce a digital service for applications and other processes
  • Introduce an allocation plan
  • Introduce reciprocal agreements with other local authorities to allow increase social mobility.
  • Removal of working positive contribution due to a recent judicial review against another local authority.