Are Homeless Homosexuals In Brighton and Hove Being Discriminated Against?

In October 2015, I was given notice to leave the home I had been living in for a year, I had been essentially sofa surfing since 2012. I had support from MindOut an LGBT Advocacy Charity In Brighton and Hove, I had support from Pavilions a drug counselling service and Mankind who are probably the only charity offering support for males who have been sexually abused.

How did Brighton and Hove City Council fail to prevent my homelessness?

Being a previously looked after child I was under the care of social services since the age of two years old, my family were considered vulnerable due to both my parents being previously looked after children, following a mental health breakdown I again went to the local authority for help to prevent me becoming street homeless.

When I completed the homelessness application form, I ensured that I made the council fully aware of my vulnerabilities and provided ample evidence to support my application, their was a recent supreme court ruling which stated that;

The court said councils assessing the needs of single homeless people should compare them with an “ordinary person” rather than another homeless person.

In my case I had a one to one meeting with a housing options advisor who kept stating that I needed to prove I was more vulnerable than the ‘average homeless person’ which used to be the “vulnerability test” local authorities measured vulnerability on, needless to say, the advisor failed to prevent my homelessness because she judged me on the old rules and n my opinion took the wrong decision.

I had to get legal advice because by failing to prevent my homelessness, I was forced to live in a 1 bedroomed flat, which was occupied by four other people, making me person number five.

In a review, a more senior member of staff quickly overturned the decision and accepted me as vulnerable and in priority need, I was offered a section 193 duty to house and placed into emergency accommodation.

A Freedom Of Information Request Shows Homosexuals Have The Lowest Percentage Of Homelessness Accepts Of Any Minority Group.

Table of Equal Opportunities Data for Homelessness
Just 23% of all Gay Homelessness Applications from 2013 -2015 were accepted, compared to 37% accepted for heterosexuals.

Download the full PDF data here: minority_report_homelessness

My argument for Brighton and Hove is this, Why do other major LGBT communities have specific supported accommodation for the LGBT minority groups, yet Brighton and Hove have nothing?

I think this is a disgrace and something the LGBT community must unite and fightback against, we know that statistically serial killers mostly target Women and gay men, yet the council feel that only 23% of gay men are vulnerable and accepted them as homeless?

The councils homelessness strategy states the following;

Our Priority Groups and Issues:

Rough Sleepers, Welfare Reform, Military Veterans & Serving Personnel, Discharge from hospital and other care settings, Young people 16 – 25, Accessing Health Services, People with Learning Disabilities & Autism People living in Supported accommodation, People with Physical and Sensory Disability, People living in Temporary Accommodation, LGBT Community, BME Community, People with Substance Misuse issues, Violence against Women & Girls. Domestic Violence, People with Mental Health Offenders, People who need housing and floating support, People who need support with Work and Learning.

In the Next Brighton and Hove LGBT Safety Forum

I want us as a community to come together and fight this discrimination, we should lay out plans for more priority, many vulnerable LGBT people who face homelessness have other vulnerabilities which are going unnoticed.

We need to push for more emergency accommodation for the LGBT community, ones which ensure members of our LGBT Community are able to feel safe. Even in 2016 we still have homophobia, transphobia, violent attacks against our community and they the council decide to only accept 23% for homelessness applications.

I’ve heard of a specific case which is absolutely disgusting, why LGBT charities aren’t lobbying for more action? why is a transgendered refugee who has fled Iraq due to the prejudice and fear for her life, being victimised, harassed and kicked out of her emergency accommodation when we should be keeping her safe.

If you are LGBT? Have you faced homelessness in the last 5 years in Brighton and Hove? Do you have a story you want to tell? Did the council fail you?

Email me I want to help.

The Sooner the City faces up to the LGBT Housing Crisis We Are Facing and takes appropriate action the better! failure to do so in my opinion means we need a new approach which does mean A Change At The Top.

Certain staff at the council have been in specific roles for sometime with no results, we need change and more public scrutiny. For too long these faceless, unelected bureaucrats have been failing to protect the vulnerable.


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A Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn, More Scandal, Cuts and Lack of Action by Brighton and Hove City Council and my eviction.

Scandal No 1

No fresh water will be provided in Bartholomew House the Brighton and Hove City Council housing offices due to cuts

An Image of a bin with no water machine
This is where the water machine was at Bartholomew House, Brighton and Hove City Council Housing Offices

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.

A image of a letter about service charge arrears
This is where the water machine was at Bartholomew House, Brighton and Hove City Council Housing Offices

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.

A Letter About Poor State of Repair
So the Council acknowledge disrepair but do nothing about it, the ownership is on the company. Why am I facing eviction but they get away with it?

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.

Many thanks

Daniel Harris


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.

Yesterday I got this letter giving notice from Ease the Squeeze

The Shelter Charity and Legal Advice States that:

Storage for personal belongings

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.

This duty applies from the point you make an application as homeless and the council believes you may be eligible for help.

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
  • arrange removals
  • arrange storage

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.peckham@brighton-hove.gov.uk – 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