Brighton and Hove City Council residents living in temporary accommodation confirm they’re being made homeless and forced to decide whether to sleep rough or move into the private sector.
Distressed residents have contacted ETHRAG claiming that Brighton and Hove City Council are breaking the law and removing there housing duty, which councils are required to provide accepted homeless households.
For sometime now the Labour Group have been warning things need to change in Temporary Accommodation, which they blame on government cuts. ETHRAG havebeen contacted by concerned residents who claim they are victims of lies from bad landlords and the council and are being forced to choose between living on the streets, or being moved into the ever increasingly insecure private housing sector.
One resident who wishes to remain anonymous has said
I’ve been to the Council and they are not helping me, I’ve been told I’ve got a be out of my accommodation in matter of weeks. I have nowhere to go, the council aren’t helping me, I ‘am 23 and have depression and anxiety, I’ve got a try find somewhere and fast they say.
The concerned resident also explained:
Brighton Council placed me in long term temporary in 2015 but now I have been told I am being evicted. They have discharged duty of care for me they told me I’ve got a find private.
The minority Labour council led by Warren Morgan recently reported a 1 million pound overspend in temporary accommodation budgets, which is the plausible reason as to why this is happening, but is this right?
Another young mother confirmed:
Brighton Council housing department passed my details to social services because I have two children and they simply said they cant help, and that I need to go private
With rents in Brighton and Hove well above the Local Housing Allowance maximum payment rate, our residents feel like they are being socially cleansed from the city they were born.
Finally another resident contacted us today to confirm:
I’m not sure if you can help me but I’m in temporary accommodation. I received a call from the Housing Acquisitions Team yesterday.
They had called to arrange a meeting between the landlord, a council rep and myself this morning. The call was very vague but basically the council are attempting to make my contract a private one between the landlord and myself. I don’t want this.
I’m now terrified that I’ll become a private tenant and removed from the housing register. I’ve got an appointment at my local MP’s surgery on Monday and I’ve made my mental health team aware. I’ve managed to put the council meeting on hold. Do you know of anyone else who has been in this situation?
ETHRAG have referred residents to the newly Elected Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown Lloyd Russell-Moyle for help. We urge Lloyd and other MPs to stand up for vulnerable constituents and speak out in parliament against these draconian policies, which are leaving our residents at breaking point.
Have You Been Affected By This Issue?
If so we want to hear from you! Right now we know the council are doing this in phases, gradually removing their legal duty to house you, this is potentially putting your household through more upset as the number one reason for homelessness applications is because of private landlords evicting tenants.
ETHRAG (The Emergency And Temporary Accommodation Residents Action Group) represents 4,000 people living in emergency and temporary accommodation in Brighton and Hove.
Formed in 2016 to fight back against cuts, bad landlords and a council-housing department, which is not fit for purpose, we are the UK’s first residents association for people living in Emergency and Temporary Accommodation.
No fresh water will be provided in Bartholomew House the Brighton and Hove City Council housing offices due to cuts
So I had to drag myself down to the housing office today, I went to get a glass of water from the machine and hey presto its gone, I asked the staff and they said they were taken away due to cost. How much does it cost to give a glass of water?
I’ve already shown you all the wastage in housing, maybe they should get rid of the incompetent staff members like Andy who was rude to me today and made negative remark after negative remark like “I cant to this” “I cant to that” So I tuned around and said rather than tell me what you cant do.
When will they realise that they are the worst council for housing in the country the negativity feeds into my illness, why cant they simple be positive and tell me what you can do. Andy said all he could do was contact my housing options advisor remember this is the same person who failed to prevent my homelessness back in December she said I wasn’t eligible for emergency housing back in Jan, a senior officer overturned this decision.
If Andy calls that customer service then I am sorry but that was possibly one of the worst experiences i’ve had at the council. I’ve managed customer service teams myself in the past, if one of my staff spoke to a customer like the way Andy spoke to me then I would be giving that member of staff a verbal warning and personal development plan to improve his customer service skills, no improvement then its P45.
Scandal No 2
Service Charges are crippling many in emergency housing, I am currently on Employment Support Allowance, I get £75 a week to live on, out of this I am expected to pay the private limited company Helgor Trading Limited (who make millions from housing benefit) £50 a month, if you don’t pay you are out.
Here is a letter I got yesterday from Helgor Trading Limited.
Here is a video of the state of the windows here at Percival Terrace
This water is dripping right down the main supporting wall – we have no laundry facilities and am not allowed any visitors. I know why so people don’t see the state of disrepair this building is in.
As Stated in the Letter this £55 MUST BE CLEARED IN FULL or I am on the streets again homeless, like the other 31% of applicants.
So its pay this starve and lose my personal belongings, or pay my storage fees for my personal belongings and have nowhere to keep them.
Basically I am in a catch22 situation and they know it, I am being discriminated against but I am not going down without a fight.
A Building Control Surveyor today sent this email to the owners of the building I am in.
The Solution to all this is simple
Get me out of this stupid welfare trap designed to line the pockets of the slum landlords and leave us the vulnerable and homeless with nothing and no reason to live. In this building Four people have sadly committed suicide since last November , do you understand why now?
An Open Letter to the Rt. Honourable Jeremy Corbyn
Dear Jeremy Corbyn,
As the leader of the opposition, A man of ethics, principles and someone who is vocal about housing, I would like to know why I am being evicted from accommodation which I have said is unsuitable from the word go.
Why am I the one facing street homelessness again when I was the person brave enough to stand up against these unethical money grabbing companies who are raking in 10 billion a year from housing benefit money?
I would like to also know what the PM David Cameron has to say about this because as detailed above, four people have died in this one building alone since last November.
Not one to just plea, I also have a policy suggestion for the future, one that stops this legal fraud against the state and provides a secure future for the vulnerable and homeless.
I’ve worked out that by moving me from emergency housing to social housing there would be a saving of £600 a month from housing benefit. Thats £7200 a year for just one person.
There are 374 places I think ,probably more in the city of Brighton and Hove, thats £2.7 million saved in a year, So if we calculated this across the country I think labour have a new policy.
By firstly exposing the wastage and secondly building social housing and increasing the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable and homeless.
Its an investment policy not reactive like many current conservative government fiascos, Jeremy these are the sort of polices we need do be adopting as a nation, its the right time to seize on this with the Panama Papers.
Most importantly It would also save lives!!
If this extended to temporary housing then the savings in 10 years could go for example toward providing a non-privatised NHS, which is wastage in itself.
Soon to be evicted for providing a public service to the city of Brighton and Hove and the country as a whole.
Keep signing my petition and help me change this system forever, as always comment below and share with friends to highlight this scandal which is a national scandal. I will be emailing this to the local and national press and to Jeremy Corbyns office tonight.
Scandal No 3
I will lose my personal belongings which are in storage with Bishops Move Brighton.
When I was finally given a roof over my head on the 28th January 2016, I signed the licence agreement which essentially means I have an element of protection from future eviction and homelessness.
As many of you may have seen I posted Images from the room they provided me at percival terrace, when I arrived it was after 4pm and the worker at the hostel took me to the room, here are the images I took.
After being told my stuff is not safe and seeing for myself a door kicked in at the hostel I went into a manic state, I lost control and didn’t know what to do. The council offices were closed, I was alone, a friend reacted and hired a van (which I payed for) and found the first place that would have storage space available, called Ease the Squeeze. At a cost of £81 per month I took it at any cost to keep my stuff safe.
Four days later after I set up the Homeless Hotels From Hell Petition, I was moved from room 24 to Room 50 – If that is not a sign of wrongdoing I don’t know what is.
If you are homeless and apply to the council for help, the council has to protect your personal belongings and furniture if it has a duty to provide you with accommodation.
Your belongings when you are made homeless
If you have asked the council for help because you are homeless, you may not be able to take your furniture and belongings with you to any temporary housing the council provides.
This is because the accommodation provided might already be furnished or too small to store all your belongings.
When your personal property has to be protected
The council has duties to protect the personal property of homeless applicants when it is at risk of damage or loss and you can’t protect or deal with it yourself. For example, you may not be able to afford to arrange removals or storage.
The duty applies to your property and the property of anyone else included in your application. Property includes personal belongings and furniture. It does not include equipment used for business purposes.
How the council must protect your belongings
The council has to do what is reasonable to prevent loss or damage to your propertyThe council can:
gain entry to a property to recover your belongings
Charges for the protection of your personal property
Most councils charge for the protection of property. Charges may be waived by some councils for people who claim benefits or have a low income.
Why are Brighton and Hove City Council Refusing – They say because I arranged for the storage on my own back. They failed to give me advice that what the housing options were set up to do, I have complained and Sylvia.firstname.lastname@example.org – refused to help me, hiding behind legislation. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, surely they should have supported me.
Great News Though I have got an Adult Social Worker to help support me going forward, nevertheless, why are these Council Officers allowed to get away with this, they aren’t elected and clearly do not answer to our cities councillors