I, Daniel Harris – How Injustice and Homelessness Made Me An Activist

How I Became Homeless In Brighton & Hove

In May 2015 on a typical sunny day in Brighton and Hove, I came face to face with the man who 26 years before sexual abused, groomed and took away my innocence, this changed my life forever!

I remember literally turning back into a six year old at that point, I became angry for the first time which led me into a downward spiral which ultimately led to me becoming addicted to drugs and then homeless and unemployed.

Faced with a choice between a future stuck in the past with street homelessness I decided to fight back, anyone who has ever suffered exploitation will know that ultimately the only people who can change our lives are ourselves.

Left with the choice between living with other people with drug issues and street homelessness I decided to present myself to Brighton & Hove City Council.

How To Kick Someone When They Are Down

In order to change I asked myself these questions: At the age of 33, could I continue living this way? Did I want the past to define my future? was I happy? could I continue lying to family and friends? would I be strong enough to beat the addiction?

I didn’t have the answers because I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Bipolar, although I didn’t know this at the time, anyone who has this will understand that we are either one extreme or the other.

When I went into the council offices on Bartholomew Square, I was still battling the addiction and trying hard to break the cycle of  drug use. I will not write here and say I was clean because I wasn’t, however my usage changed and ultimately my way of thinking changed more.


I came face to face with the civil servant from hell, you know the types, the ones who have had the same job for over 20 years, the people who are happy to sell there soul to the devil and ultimately traded empathy and compassion for emptiness and authority.

Believe it or not, I was sofa surfing for 4 years after I left a voilent relationship, now I am not a victim I am a survivor, we should be helping people turn there lives around, not fail to prevent homelessness.

I was asked a series of questions, Why are you Homeless? Why cant you rent private accommodation? can’t you move back home? etc etc..

She looked at me like I was a piece of dirt, I had to tell this woman whom I had never met before my reasons for becoming homeless and guess what, she said “There is nothing I can do, you don’t meet the criteria for homelessness accommodation”.

I call some of these people Gatekeepers, essentially if they like you then they help you, if you question them in the slightest, they close the door and throw away the key.

So I was told I was not vulnerable enough for secure housing, so I want to live with 4 people in a 1 bedroom flat, all of whom had drug problems.

How I fought Back Against A System Designed To Demoralise People

I remember it was the 28th December, I had the worst Christmas in my life, no tree, no family and no festive spirit, unless of course you include a bottle of vodka. In my heart of hearts I know she was wrong, how could living with people with drug problems be better than homeless accommodation?

Ok so in my mind I thought the homeless accommodation would be small but nice, it is after all 2016, I went to get some legal advice from Brighton Housing Trust and initially they were not much better, more smiles that the front line council staff, but then they are making loads money from the legal aid I was awarded.

The first time they took me seriously was when I took along an advocate, the charity was called Mind Out, a specific charity to help LGBT people with Mental Health issues, for the first time they took my needs into account and helped me, albeit quite sloppy and slow.

On the 28th January I finally got the homelessness decision overturned in an appeal, at a cost to the tax payer I never wanted and serious risk to my health, I lost 12kg in weight and my dignity all because someone felt they were more important than a human in need.

What Was My Reward?

  • Emergency AccommodationPercival Terrace. A room so small you could touch both walls with your arms wide open, no bedding, a microwave, signs of drug usage on the mattress, urine up the walls and a ceiling about to cave in. Cost to the tax payer £800, who gets this money? A tax evading private limited company called Helgor Trading Limited.
  • Isolation – There is a no visitor rule.
  • Depression – How would be happy living in those conditions?
  • Victimised – the more I complained the more Brighton and Hove City Council staff treated me unfairly, they spoke to me like I was 6 years old, they even arrived at Percival Terrace trying to convince other vulnerable people to write a statement to get me evicted.
  • I got Evicted, 3 times and stopped them all.
  • Breach of Data Protection – Staff at Brighton and Hove City Council, used an incident when I was 12 years old against me in a housing decision 21 years later.
  • Being spied upon – Brighton and Hove City Council Staff trawl through my social media accounts and this blog daily, how sad!
  • Intimidation – I get security staff contracted out by the council following me when I enter public buildings, even waiting outside when I went to the toilet. Listen to my call to the company when I challenge this treatment
  • Lies – Senior management have lied to me on purpose.
  • Blacklisted – I have been placed on a blacklist by Brighton and Hove City Council.
  • Discrimination – I was never advised there was a specific worker who works with LGBT people, I only found out about this role when I did a subject Access request and saw notes and internal emails on my files in which senior managers refused me access to this service.
  • Relapse – I relapsed in June 2016 after all of the above, I simply had enough of the treatment I had received and lost all hope in humanity after a specific staff member waged a war words against me, even questioning my historic sexual abuse, the nature of the injuries I sustained when I was in a voilent relationship and became and when he ignored a social services report and a report from a registered psychiatrist.

What did I do to deserve this treatment? sadly because I challenged the status quo, tackled the living conditions of the vulnerable, highlighted an unethical housing system designed to benefit the wealthy few and many of whom are evading tax. Simply for being a kind, brave and decent human being. #Madness

So What Really Saved Me?

When I saw the room at percival terrace I instantly spoke out and launched a petition to try and improve the system and other peoples lives, I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar and PTSD after 26 years, and finally spoke out and pursued the historic sexual abuse.

I got Clean, I became an activist and even founded the first residents association in the UK specifically focused on those living in Temporary and Emergency Accommodation.

I’ve just completed 48 weeks of specific therapy for men who were sexually abused, I’ve campaigned to raise awareness around Care Leavers, Mental Health, Social Justice, LGBT Rights, Domestic Violence, Drug Addictions and of course Housing. You can find some of the things i’ve achieved here.

Today I live day by day, I am now living in Temporary Accommodation and fight daily to improve peoples lives, I am not fully recovered and some days its hard to even get out of bed, others I am never in it.

But I am much more educated and I can tell you now that the only solution for a better future is for people like you reading this blog post now, to stand up, speak out and help to chance our society.

I am Daniel Blake, You are Daniel Blake, Our Friends & Family are Daniel Blake. If you haven’t seen it yet, get along to the cinema to catch a glimpse of what is really happening in society today.

And the future?

The Future is the Present, Focus on the Here and Now!


Inspirational Messages Of Support For Local LGBT Campainer

Having recently faced some massive challenges I can confirm that I have now successfully managed to renegotiate my eviction, having gone in desperation to Brighton and Hove City Council a few days ago with various advocates and a social worker challenging the decision the council offered me a place in Newhaven.

In January when the council provided me with a duty of care and in priority need it was decided that I should be placed in Brighton and Hove, due to my mental health and support needs, since then I have officially been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and complex PTSD, However the council had decided that this means I can live outside Brighton and Hove.

On the table was one offer and I had to accept this or reject, they warned me if I rejected I would lose my duty of care and priority need and be seen as intentionally homeless, I think its disgusting someone with my mental health needs was provided with this option and feel that I was being victimised, my advocates were shocked at this treatment.

I decided to create a third option, I contacted percival terrace management and asked for them to reverse their decision to evict me, the manager said I could stay that night and the next day have a 121 meeting with the director, so I accepted this and happily walked away from the council who not only benefited from me being out of Brighton and Hove and off their doorstep, but that I would have had to have gone through another Suitability Review process in Newhaven lasting 24 weeks.

My current review period end next week, so I made a decision based on my needs, whilst all emergency accommodation is unsuitable for me, 1 week is better than 24 and I get to stay in Brighton and Hove.

What Did The Helgor Director Say

Firstly she made it clear that ‘I had made my point’ we had a very friendly and open meeting in which I learned a little about her personally and how she feels about the Emergency Accommodation. Angelique advised that in a previous blog I had written in which showed pictures of dead pigeons and near a water tank in the building and the video showing sewage were an old issue and didn’t represent the current circumstances.

Just the night before we came together to set up the Emergency and Temporary Housing Residents Action Group, which had two staff from Percival Terrace in attendance with councillors, a journalist, lead people in other local campaigns and of course residents, It was a great success and now we have an established residents association.

The director commented that it was a good idea and went on to confirm that as a landlord they cannot support the complicated needs of the residents and thats why ETHRAG would be a good idea to be able to help cater for our own needs. She also agreed to regular meetings in which I can feedback residents concerns and make suggestions for improvement.

Helgor Emergency Housing Properties in Brighton and Hove to be Brought up to Standard With A Large Redevelopment,  Maintenance Repair Schedule Ahead

We can look forward to an overhaul of every Room at Percival Terrace, they are replacing the roofs, the properties are listed which means means they can be harder to keep in good conditions. The Heating and Water Systems will be looked into and the includes replacing the radiators in each room, Mini Ovens will be placed in each room where families  are living, I would personally live to see all rooms with these ovens.

Security will be raised to help lower crimes and keep residents safer, I have asked for rooms to have peep holes on each door, there will also better better trained staff.

We have now opened up to talks and I am feeling positive about the initial improvements, but we must remain focused to continue working for more holistic approaches to recovery, safeguarding guidelines in place for the most vulnerable  and a plan for coop housing offering more that what we currently have in terms of rehabilitations, integration and hope.

I got nominated for a National Diversity Award for LGBT Role Model.

I am feeling to humbled after reading the anonymous votes and endorsements for my nomination, I truly feel blessed, I honestly do what I do for change and I really care about Housing, Mental Health, Care Leavers and Young People and LGBT issues.

These messages really help to keep me staying active and pushing for change, if you haven’t already done so, you can still nominate me up until 20th June 2016 by going to the National Diversity Awards Website.

Here are some of the kind words so far

– “no one deserves this more than Daniel, although he haas his own demons he is just so focused on helping everyone who is vulnerable…..he’s a star!!”

– “I have not met Daniel in person but we have chatted many a time on the care leavers site. He always has a positive word to inspire me an others to keep going an fighting. An that despite our start in life we can move forward. “

– “Very enthusiastic and supportive individual who will do anything to help those in need. He’s proud of who he is an proud of the LGBT community and speaks up for all!!”

– “He’s a good friend of mine and he deserves a lot”

 – “I don’t know Daniel personally but my boyfriend is very fond of him and of what I have heard I can say his story is very inspiring”

– “I know Daniel as a very inspiring person who has been through so much, yet is still going impressively strong “

 – “I have only just recently met Daniel, but his determination to see that life gets better, not just for himself, but for everyone in his situation is outstanding. He puts others before himself, is a great orator and is determined and creative.Whether it is determination to make a council fulfil their obligations to those in need of care, challenging the stigma of Bi-polar disorder or making sure kids have a voice, he brings all situations to the forefront, showing that while he may be suffering himself, he will go all out to make sure others don’t have to.”

– “Inspiring and focused! Driven to help others that are in bad situations! Beating the odds! “

– “I have seen Daniels progress over the last couple of months. He has really grown as a person and it’s amazing the amount of backup he’s getting. He deserves this as I think he’s an amazing role model for young people, after everything he’s been through, he’s still come out on top. “

– “He has shown how to learn from experience and to convert anger and despair into an effective fight for social justice I am a community activist in Brighton involved in campaigning and working with those who require advocacy to achieve their basic rights”

 – “Is such an inspiration “

– “Daniel is a dynamic and relentless campaigner who has highlighted and excellently communicated issues around care leavers, mental health issues and the state of emergency housing for vulnerable people. He has consistently campaigned while facing his own personal difficulties, including homelessness. “

– “Daniel has found strength to use his personal experience to help others, to raise awareness and to help himself. He is self-motivated, focused and positive. Daniel is a real pleasure to be with, he shares his thoughts and feelings in a positive way, is open about his experiences and supportive of others. “

– “Daniel has put a spotlight on how poorly the City of Brighton and Hove extends a duty of care to the most vulnerable in the City who are homeless and in need of help.”

 – “I vote for this man because he has a great idea to help people. I have known some cases in my country of sexual abused but I have no idea how to help them. Also, I support LGBT should be treated right. Not so many people accept this as my friends who are in this group feel bad when they cant get the job as they want, cant have a true love. I vote for him because he is trying ro help people. He has idea to support people while i cant do anything for them so i have no reason not to vote for this tough man! “

– “I grew up in care and I totally support Daniels stance and what he is trying to do . Its not easy to stand up in that situation . you are so made to feel undeserving and its easy to become isolated from society and feel forgotten . Its massively damaging to our struggling communities . Which are almost all we have .”

– “Daniel, who I met a few years ago, is one of those people that you can take to quiet easily as he takes an interest in people from all walks of life. He is currently trying to overcome many obstacles on his personal journey, with his own added demons to contend with, but through all this he finds the courage and strength to fight for other people in similar situations. This man has a vision and passion to fight the injustice he sees in homelessness with the added mental health issues that often go hand in hand, this has sadly also been a part of his own life. The last time I saw him was at a recent family gathering. I made a point of going up to him even though I don’t really know him that well and praising his efforts, encouraging him to carry on his cause. I also follow him on social media. The reason why I am nominating this young man is, I was one of those people who was in a bad situation in poor housing conditions. I remember a time where I felt desperate, lonely, and unable to see any future, also with very little support. My former partner suffered from severe mental health problems. I would like Daniel Harris to be recognised in the tireless and often blinded campaign that he is trying to raise awareness. Thank you for taking the time to read this and good luck Daniel.”

– “Daniel is a much needed person in our society today as an advisor for children in care. He should be listened to and given the highest accolade for sheer determination against all odds, particularly where he is being harassed by the local authority as he exposes the lack if justice, the corruption, the courage of Daniel is so admired by others. He is truly a role model for everyone as a survivor of so many issues, constantly looking to raise the bar. His voice matters. “

– “Daniel seeks to turn his situation into a positive one with constructive solutions. I salute him for his inspirational example. “

– “Amazing man who has been through a lot and has come out fighting and shown others that strength and determination can get you through anything . “

– “Daniel is an inspiration person that shows how struggles (his own many times) can be converted into strength at the same time that makes strangers understand what someone can be suffering when dealing with homelessness, Social Services and other barriers to self-actualisation. “

– “In the face of adversity, Daniel has bravely put his head above the parapet in the call to change.He is lovely and open, thoughtful and caring.His energy is amazing.”

– “Daniel has done remarkable work raising awareness of homelessness and the effects it has on peoples lives, especially the LGBT community”

– “He Truly Deserves The Nomination ,His life is far from being Plain sailing Yet He Still Puts Everyone Before Himself He’s An Earth Angel .”

– “He is passionate, dynamic and committed to making a difference. Open to learning and growing with his experiences. He will help create change and make a difference.”

– “A truly inspirational young man”

– “I have met Daniel on a few occasions and I can truly say what a lovely and genuine person he is. I have read about Daniel’s troubles and I have the upmost amour of respect and admiration for him and for all he has been through, he fully deserves the award!”

– “Daniel has clearly endured a significant amount of misfortune and hardship in his own personal life. Despite this, and effectively from the streets, he has been fighting a highly visible campaign to highlight the issues faced by homeless LGBT people in Brighton and to bring about meaningful change. This has included collating statistics highlighting the seemingly less favourable treatment of LGBT applicants for homelessness assistance from Brighton City Council and lobbying the Council for change. Most people who have experienced the misfortune that Daniel has in his life would just give up. Daniel has chosen instead to fight and in doing so is a positive role model for our community and is well deserving of an award – which I have no doubt that he would use to further his campaign for justice.”

– “Amazing man who has been through a lot and has come out fighting and shown others that strength and determination can get you through anything . “

“He is doing something he believe in and a credit to others carry on with g he good work Daniel x “

– “i find Daniel’s quest for dignity, in the face of ingrained resistance from very inadequately funded public services, resulting in providing a very poor service, quite inspiring. i send him all my best wishes and a deserved success with his campaigning. i hope his campaign will inspire other people, both in Brighton and the rest of the country, who experience similar treatment from public services, to join forces to challenge the appallingly oppressive and person devaluing political ideology, we are all currently subjected to. “

– “I’ve come across Daniel at LGBT Community Safety Forum meetings in Brighton and on various internet forums. He is a tireless campaigner and a voice for vulnerable young LGBT people in the city. He has been particularly effective challenging the city council’s appalling lack of emergency housing provision. He fully deserves to receive this award. “

– “He’s has tirelessly and fearlessly championed the marginalisation of LGBT etc people in housing and homelessness, which is a major issue for many.”

– “Reading Daniel Harris’s story is inspirational.I believe he deserves this award for all his positivity and energy he is investing in others. It is incredibly hard to deal with trauma but he has managed to turn it into something positive and motivational for himself. I believe this will not only benefit him but all who he shines upon.. My name is Alexandra my mother comes from a abusive background and I believe we need to encourage, support and love people who are prepared to help themselves in life x “

– “Because he is an inspiration truthful and cares for everyone xxx”

– “Careless campaigner for justice when all others would just walk on by”

– “Daniels spirit and determination to better himself and his community is truly commendable and I wish you all the best.”

– “Daniel’s work on uncovering the corruption and unscrupulous dealings of private landlords in the emergency housing sector has been amazing, and his whole life story and the way he’s campaigned for other people to have a better chance in life is just so inspiring.”

What can I say other than WOW and Thank YOU so much!!! 🙂


Homophobic Attacks In Brighton & Hove: A Different Perspective

Proof That Homosexuals Are Considerably More Vulnerable Than The Ordinary Person

In a recent blog post I discussed the Equal Opportunities Freedom of Information Request which showed that Gay Men have the lowest homelessness accept percentage of any minority group.

Following the recent alleged homophobic attack of Dain Luka and James Floz Loxton pictured below, I want to call on Brighton and Hove’s Councillors to ensure that LGBT Homelessness Applicants are provided a duty of care and priority need under section 193 of the housing act.

Last year three men were sentenced for a vicious attack in which a victim was smashed over the head several times with glass bottles, leaving permanent scaring. This latest attack is one of a number of homophobic attacks in the city, this has to stop!

The two latest victims were on there way home after a night out, they were stopped and assaulted outside the Queens Hotel, one of the victims claimed he was brutally kicked in the face on a number of occasions leaving him unable to see.

Why are Brighton and Hove City Council Not Preventing Homelessness for Vulnerable LGBT Applicants

We know that LGBT folk are more vulnerable on the streets yet in the recent freedom of information request the council have failed to prioritise LGBT Applicants. I was failed back in December 2015 / January 2016, I had to appeal the decision that the council made not to house me and at a time when I am in recovery.

What needs to change

Firstly I would like to see the LGBT Community coming together as one, whilst Pride has always been political I think this year we as a community need to focus on ourselves, we need to highlight the wrongdoings and lead the demonstration for social justice.

Secondly as I have said on many occasions we need a Central LGBT Hub, located close to the heart of the village, they have one in Birmingham, London and Manchester why not here in  Brighton?

Thirdly the LGBT Community need to start lobbying the cities councillors and MP’s, we need to stand up for our rights, our gay rights!!

Finally, Bring back Pub watch, the Kemptown focused security system, better communication could prevent such incidents in the future.

I hope the two young lads recover mentally and physically, having been a victim of hate crime myself, I know how these two brave souls will be feeling, as a community we should not stand by anymore and allow such acts or wrongdoings.

A Way To Stay Safe – Self Defence Classes

My friends the Brighton and Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum have a free Self Defence Class on the 20th May 2016 from 2pm – 4pm. Here are the details:

Hosted by the Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum.
This session will re-introduce the principles of self-defence, including how to keep safe without using any physical techniques.

We will also discuss and practice some techniques to increase your confidence and help you distract or escape a potential attacker.

In this session we will adapt the techniques to suit differing physical abilities.

This is not a session in martial arts.

Refreshments provided.

Fee £3 per person
Remaining costs subsidised by a grant from the Rainbow Fund

Only 18 spaces available. To book your place please email training@lgbt-help.com

Pease contact us if you have any access requirements by email training@lgbt-help.com or by calling 01273 855620 and selecting option 4

Please be safe and alert when out and about.