Brighton & Hove Homelessness: The Shame Of Europe

Ive been speaking to some non UK nationals about homelessness in Brighton and Hove.

Last year I met a student from Holland who was staying in Brighton and Hove for the winter to study, he was studying homelessness and rough sleepers. He spent so much time with rough sleepers observing and learning. He went back to Holland with his results which painted a realistic gloomy view of the homelessness issues in Brighton and Hove.

We know that we have 144 official rough sleepers but what about the extended community within the homeless sub-culture? these are people living in hostels, people who are now homed and left without support and therapy to fully recover.

We know that we have a very visible issue on the streets of Brighton right now, as I am writing this blog I am tucked up in bed with a horrid chest infection, warm under my duvet and only a few feet away from the kettle to make some honey and lemon hot water.

I was speaking to a rough sleeper last night, he is 19 years old. He also has a chest infection, but does not have to comforts we are privileged to have today.

He will be walking the streets all day to get warm.

He will be begging or doing criminal activities to survive.

He is slowly dying inside and at risk of assault or sexual abuse. How can this be right?

The homeless are five times more lively to attend A&E than the average Brighton and Hove resident, most die in their forties.

Check out this post worried about another young lad.

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Non UK Citizens in Shock Horror at Brighton and Hove Homelessness Issue

So back to this guy, who is quite cute, he has recently arrived from Spain with an open mind as to what he will find in the the city and has taken up full time work in a restaurant working 40 hours a week. He works in the city centre and can see first hand the homelessness crisis bringing doom and gloom to the streets of Brighton.

He said “In my whole life I’ve never seen this, people sleeping on the streets, we do not have this where I am from”.

Which is something I am hearing more and more often, many of the volunteers we see helping out with grassroots groups are people from other countries in Europe, this number is increasing which is great.

He then said “There no help by the government?”

I laughed out loud and coughed everywhere with this stinking cold, as if! Since the Conservatives came into power rough sleeping has doubled.

These people who come to live in the UK from Europe, they come to learn English, they work hard, long hours and see the carnage on the streets as totally unbelievable and unnessessary.  Why? because they don’t have this, yet they have much higher unemployment levels than the UK.

It doesn’t make sense, that is until you factor in the freeze in wages, the increase in living costs and most importantly the high rents and lack of new council housing being build. We have different societies, they have cheaper food, cheaper rent and a system in Spain which helps those who have fallen to hard times.

How do we clean up the streets?

Id certainly recommend people check out the Sussex Partnership, headed up by Jim Deans and a community or volunteers those of you from across Europe or local who want to help tackle the homelessness crisis should start with him.

The Sussex Partnership feed the most homeless in the city, they can be found at the clock tower in Churchill square every Sunday, to get involved and help feed and get to know the real people behind the stigma, drop by! Check out a recent Argus article about the work done by the Sussex Partnership here.

We also have OPSafe – who do some wonderful things in the city including the Rucksack Project which provides the homeless with life saving footwear and suitable clothing to help rough sleepers warm and dry. Sometimes the people who make up the rucksacks leave little messages of inspiration for the homeless or give them creative items to keep their minds active. One of the organisers said:

“its the little things that make a real difference, the human touch”.


Their are many initiatives in Brighton and Hove designed to help the homeless, I would recommend looking for those organisations and groups who have volunteers with lived experience of homelessness. Do this as a start before, even considering some of the larger charities who get huge amounts of funding.

Homeless people have their own culture, a sub-culture within our society which is marginalised. Rough sleepers are often abused or ridiculed by those in our society who clearly demonstrate that they have no sense of compassion, but for so many people within in minority culture being left behind to die.

As recently reported the Brighton Centre to be used as homeless night shelter this winter 30 new places will make a very small difference, but the idea come from the local community originally. Brighton and Hove News reported this:

“The places at the shelter will be allocated from referrals by outreach workers from St Mungo’s and BHT (Brighton Housing Trust). The outreach workers will also offer support to those staying at the shelter, linking them to services and sources of support across Brighton and Hove.”

Talk about taking over from the little people, the establishment keeping their funding options closed to a small number of charities, who by the way have an invite only selection process if you want to get involved in their Galvanise Project. A tick box exercise designed to keep the tills ringing.

No worries the grassroots community are staying away from this project and setting up there own emergency pop up shelter, which will help 60 people sleeping with. They have no help from the council, they don’t get one of the empty buildings or funding from the council, its being entirely funded and crowdsourced by locals for all homeless.

They want to save lives, not use those lives!

[emailpetition id=”2″]

You Cant Take Whitehawk Out Of The Boy

Growing up in Whitehawk can be tough, behind closed doors all manner of things goes on in households. With some better of than others, you do get the feeling that the community spirit in the area has changed somewhat.

Children still don’t have much to do, with the threat of closure for the Whitehawk INN which is in desperate need of finance. The closure of drug counselling services in the area and loads of people my age still living at home I do wonder when things will change.

I often hear about people my age dying, mostly men or see on Facebook that someone I went to school with is serving time in HMP Lewes Prison. These are just a few issues I can think of straight away which need focus. 

Free School meals

The number of Children receiving free meals in East Brighton is 33%, in comparison Withdean only has 5%.

Two of our local areas are in the two per cent most income-deprived areas in England. Both are in the East Brighton ward. One is located in the area centred on Whitehawk Crescent and the southern end of Manor Hill and the other forms part of the northern tip of Whitehawk.

I remember when I was growing up in Whitehawk, I used to get free school meals because it was almost always the most wholesome meal I would get, this wasn’t neglect this was poverty.With foodbank usage rising in Whitehawk by 60%, its important that we remember and help the most vulnerable.

Whitehawk: Domestic Violence

Whitehawk is one of Brighton and Hove’s hotspots for Domestic Violence. According to police data, nearly four out of five victims are female, with female victims most commonly in the 20-29 age group. Male victims are on average slightly older.

As someone who grew up in an unstable household and who has personally survived abuse from a previous parter, its evident there is not a focus to tackle this issue and I would start with education first. Its children who suffer the most from an unstable home!

But housing options for those fleeing are little and far between, I’ve seen mothers with young children who were made homeless due to domestic violence shoved in unsupported emergency accommodation. I’ve been real violence and fear, women ex violent partners get into buildings which have no support. Victims need the right support and friends and family play a vital role, as does non molestation orders.

violence-and-sexual-offence-kemptown-brighton

Whitehawk: Education and Qualification

In East Brighton according to the last census some 26% or nearly 3000 people in the area reported they received no qualifications. 40% have level 1 which is entry level education standards.

We need better school provisions and a high school for residents in more deprived areas like Whitehawk, 40% is totally unacceptable. I went to Stanley Season High School which was one of the worst performing schools in the country. It was full of Tory teachers who didn’t care and was being run into the ground. Now there is no local high school provision.

Crime

Most crime is associated with drug and alcohol abuse, from low level disagreements to murder I’ve seen it all on the Whitehawk estate. When you come into Kemptown where you have a lot of bedsits is issues with dealing and drug abuse, as we saw last year with various police chases, one resulting in death.

Not to mention rape, sexual assaults and child abuse, these are all taboo subjects which rarely get mentioned, I found out today that Rise UK off a grant scheme for community activists wanting to tackle domestic violence.

We need communities to take control and we know prison is not the answer for many offences relating to drugs, but we must take a hard line again theft and violence, we cannot have a city with so much anger and rage.

Anti-Social Behaviour Kemptown

Pledge your support for Daniel Harris

I want to become the next socialist working class councillor to tackle these issues above any many more, but I will need the support of locals in Whitehawk and East Brighton to achieve this. We are a young area and we need young representation from people who are born and raised in the area.

This is why I am standing to change things and open up the doors for other locals to get more involved, please support and pledge your support for me to represent you in 2018 as the local Labour Party candidate.

Thanks Daniel

[emailpetition id=”2″]

People Fight Back With Bold New Brighton and Hove Housing Conference

The Housing Crisis in Brighton & Hove has hit the point of no return and this Saturday the people affected and left behind finally have a voice with a radical new housing conference set to launch a movement to push for more accountability and transparency from Brighton and Hove City Council.

This is a new vibrant campaign launched based on action not words

Caroline Lucas MP and Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP will lead off at the launch of the Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition this Saturday by answering questions from more than 200 housing activists in Brighton.

Around 20 organisations are coming together to establish a Housing Coalition that will challenge the moribund policies of our City Council and national Government.

Steve Parry, acting Chair of the Coalition, said “With co-operation on this scale we intend to challenge in a real way homelessness, housing squalor, housing for profit rather than for people, and the payment of £millions to overseas tax havens for so-called emergency and temporary accommodation” 

He emphasised that “the Coalition is bringing together those that build homes with those that occupy empty properties, those that help feed the homeless and those that will be opening up community night shelters, those that have a vision for all to have a right to shelter and those who are advocating for those discriminated against by our local authority due to vulnerability or disability.”

It is a welcome sign of possible change that Larissa Reed, the newly appointed Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing at the City Council will be spending an hour discussing the policy and practice of the council.

Local housing campaigner Daniel Harris said ” The time has come for change, for too long vulnerable people have been exploited and neglected, all whilst greedy landlords line their pockets at the expense of people’s lives.

Standards in some places have improved recently but we have a huge crisis with government funding cuts which are hitting the most vulnerable, recent government figures show Brighton and Hove already underperform against national average standards, this is a great concern”.

Council residents, leaseholders, private renters, the homeless, and those in temporary accommodation will be working together and participating in workshops ranging from Community led housing to ‘Alternative housing choices and well-being in later life’, from Living Rents to the horrors of some privately rented housing, from accessibility to the need for respect to be shown to those who are disabled or vulnerable.

To Book Tickets To The Housing Coalition Be Quick

Organisations involved include:

a. B&HCC Tenants

b. Brighton and Hove Pensioners Group

c. Brighton Benefits Campaign

d. Brighton People’s Assembly

e. Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-operative

f. Community Land Trust

g. Community Night Shelter

h. Co-operative Housing in Brighton and Hove (CHIBAH)

i. ETHRAG

j. Good Health Projects

k. Invisible Voices

l. Justice for Tenants

m. Living Rents Campaign

n. Love Activists

o. Mutual Aid in Sussex (MAIS)

p. NFA Residents Association

q. Opsafe

r. Sussex Economic Partnership

Brighton Image view

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Pledges to Suspend The Right To Buy

As a housing campaigner and formally homeless resident living in emergency accomodation and now living in temporary accomodation I can confirm Jeremy Corbyn’s Housing Manifesto plan will transform Britain and provide a Secure and Affordable Home for All.

Suspending the Right to Buy

First introduced by the tories in the 1980’s the Right to Buy Policy which has now been scrapped in Scotland and Wales, although provided the opportunity for the working class to own there own council homes, has been a grossly unfair policy which has also been raided by tory bad landlords.

The manifesto states: 

More council homes have been sold off under the Conservatives and only one in five have been replaced, despite long housing waiting lists. Labour will suspend the right-to-buy policy to protect affordable homes for local people, with councils only able to resume sales if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.

Taking the lead where Brighton and Hove City Council seem to have failed in recent years, Labour are promising to reverse the rip off privatisation which is costing all tax payers and bringing back in-house council housing only rewarding local authorities who build like for like.

Council House Building is BACK

It’s no secret I am a fan of council housing, having been raised in a council house which was then subsequently taken away from my family in 1994, I am fully aware how a secure home can help families prosper.

The Tories have demolished estates and built luxory accomodation, forcing locals to move sometimes over 100 miles away from friends and family.

Broken Dreams Brighton and Hove City Council Housing Waiting List
Brighton and Hove City Council send in the bulldozers to demolish 10,000 locals from the council’s housing waiting list

Just last week a local from Whitehawk in Brighton and Hove wrote to me telling me that when her mother died of cancer last year, the day before the funeral Brighton and Hove City Council hand delivered a notice of eviction from the family home they had lived in for 25 years.

I was disgusted to hear that this council had lost all compassion, and I see this on a regular basis when they reward tax evading limited companies over real locals who were born and raised in the area.

The manifesto states: 

Under the Conservatives, affordable housebuilding has fallen to a 24-year low. Labour will build the genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy that the country needs.

We will remove government restrictions that stop councils building homes and begin the biggest council building programme for at least 30 years.

We will ditch the Conservatives’ ban on long-term council tenancies to give council tenants security in their homes. We want more people to have a secure tenancy in a home built to high standards.

Thats 500,000 new council homes, build by locals for locals and a further 500,000 truly affordable homes for those who are in work and being bit by high rents from bad landlords.

Homelessness

 

With 2000 children living in Temporary Accommodation in Brighton and Hove last Christmas, and over 120,000 families nationally labour have pledged to tackle this countries homelessness and housing crisis once and for all.

20160528_131927_resizedThe manifesto states:

Homelessness is not inevitable in a country as decent and well off as ours. However, since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough in shop doorways and on park benches has more than doubled. This shames us all. There can be no excuses – it must end. Full stop.

Labour will set out a new national plan to end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping. We will also take action to tackle the root causes of homelessness, including safeguarding homeless hostels and other supported housing from crude Conservative cuts to housing benefit.

With a council locally who enforces Tory policies of hate and targeted at the most vulnerable minority groups, a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party will take the lead nationally and help the homeless not criminalise them.

Private Renters

Labour will end insecurity for private renters by introducing controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters.

Labour say:

Soaring rents are a real problem and leading to more families living in temporary accommodation, more people sleeping rough, and many not having enough money to save up for a deposit or for a rainy day.

Labour will make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. Given the particular pressures in London we will look at giving the Mayor the power to give renters in London additional security. We will legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.

Labour will also empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights. Renters are spending £9.6 billion a year on homes that the government classes as ‘non-decent’. Around a Quarter of this is paid by housing benefit. A Labour government would introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ and empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard.

Finally reversing Tory Policies that hit the vulnerable and young

Labour have promised to scrap the Bedroom Tax and Reverse the cruel decision to abolish housing benefit for 18 to 21- year-olds, which risks putting even more vulnerable young people on our streets.

Let me know what you think about these housing polices, will these policies make a difference to your lives?

Are you one of the 10,000 people who have recently been taken off the council housing waiting list?

If so let me know your thoughts and as always please share.

 

 

 

18 Year Old Care Leaver Found In Azaro Doorway Hove Sleeping Rough

18 Year Old Care Leaver Found Rough Sleeping In A Hove Doorway: Community Activists Rally in Support To Re-house.

On Monday 1st of May I was walking home in Hove when I noticed a young lad sleeping in a doorway outside a closed commercial restaurant, If you live in Brighton and Hove you will be used to seeing people sleeping rough, but its rare to see someone so young so I approached him.

It was a wet, cold and windy night, normally when I approach rough sleepers I give my name first to break the ice as I know it can be intimidating when approaching people in the evening, I gave him a few quid and explained I was homeless last year.

I asked his name and he reluctantly muttered his name Joey back, I asked his age and he said he was 18 and a care leaver, I explained I was also a previously looked after child, which I think made he relax a little more, I was quite taken aback myself and told him to wrap up warm.

I explained to Joey I was a housing campaigner and asked how long he was rough sleeping he said “4 weeks this time”, and I could tell he was streetwise, I then went home. I couldn’t get the thought that a care leaver so young was living on the streets, and in particular Joey’s story evoked some emotion me as I had a little cry for the lad. I had to go back to help him, so I returned 30 minutes later.

After hearing Joey’s story I simply had to help, he was in foster care from 2 years old, due to a difficult start to his life, essentially neglected! – Having spent his whole childhood in foster care, Joey as teenager was left to fend for himself, in and out of leaving care placements Joey, like many other previously looked after children got into crime and difficulty, some of which he describes as bad treatment from staff.

I instantly wanted to help him and agreed to meet Joey the next day to help advocate and provide support and advice, which I do on a voluntary basis which recovering from my own homelessness experience.

Step One: Register Joey At Arch Homeless Healthcare Centre in Brighton

Joey mentioned he had no registered Doctor so I took him to Arch Healthcare, a new Healthcare trust co partnered by Dr Tim Worthley, as well respected homelessness medical Dr and GP.

Arch-Healthcare Brighton & Hove Tim Worthley

The process was simple, there were a few forms which needed to be completed in order for the surgery to be to able to find Joey, This took around 10 – 15 minutes to complete, later on that afternoon, the receptionist contacted Joey to confirm she had found his records and his registration was complete.

If you are a rough sleeper and want more information on Arch Healthcare you can you can call them on 01273 003930, alternatively why not visit the Arch website.

Step Two: Register With YAC (Youth Advice Centre) For Under 26 Year Old’s

We initially we to Brighton and Hove City Council to complete a homelessness application, however I was informed because Joey is under 26 years old that he would be required to attend YAC in Brighton.ymca-logo-footer-Brighton

This is a sub-contracted service run by the YMCA.

The process was simple we needed to attend a review meeting, so we dropped in, the staff were extreamly helpful and within 15 minutes after I explained his circumstances, Joey was seen by a student social worker.

The interview took around an 1 hour, Joey was nervous due to the bureaucratic questioning, however having a non authoritarian advocate like me by his side enabled Joey to relax and open up.

At the end of the interview, the staff member left the room to consult with colleagues, this basically took into account what Joey had said and accessed his priory need around homelessness and housing. Joey fulfilled the requirement for housing being a care leaver and the social worker provided a letter to hand into the council when presenting as homeless.

Although the process went around the houses and took longer, the staff were much more friendly than many I have encountered at Brighton and Hove City Council, of late!

If you are under 26 years old and want housing advice in Brighton and Hove, you can contact YAC, here’s how:

01273 624432 yacservices@ymcadlg.org 11, St Georges Place Brighton BN1 4GB YAC Website

Step Three: Present At Brighton and Hove City Council Housing Options.

Normally the most difficult stage for people, however Joey had me to advocate and fight his corner, the first staff member Elizabeth was professional, caring and polite, we then presented the letter from YAC, and was then passed to a senior advisor, called Parminder.

I wish I could praise Parminder, but she was quite rude, and at one point walked off in a strop, this is not my first encounter with Parminder and on form she failed to provide advice and forced her negative and uncooperative attitude on Joey a vulnerable 18 year old.

I wont get into the in and out’s for safeguarding and confidentiality reasons, but she was perfectly willing had I have not stepped in to allow him back on the streets.

Thankfully Housing Options Manager Jerry Aldous was more helpful in conjunction with Bob Proctor Senior Manager in helping to get Joey placed that evening, although an emergency placement, it was in a local emergency accommodation property.

Step Four: Escort To Emergency Placement Property

I cant reveal the location, but it was a property run by Helgor Trading.

I asked Joey for feedback, he advised the Manager was welcoming, the room was good and I understand he felt comfortable, which is nice to hear.

Obviously being a rough sleeper, Joey had nothing but the clothes he had on, whilst not showering for 4 weeks, I sent out a plea to community activists and they answered in there droves.

A colleague and DBS Checked Activist called Jim Deans provided Joey with toiletries, and fresh clothing, I understand Helgor gave Joey fresh towels, and through ETHRAG, I was able to get Joey a small food package.

Conclusion

I hope this blog post gives those of you reading a greater understanding of the process and challenges as well as providing insight into peoples generosity locally, it just goes to show that with co-operation we can indeed change peoples lives.

I saw Joey’s face when he was placed into secure accommodation and I can tell you that it was well worth all the stress and complication.

Brighton and Hove City Council have promised to bring a Temporary Accommodation Board into the City and I hope this process demonstrates that collaboration and feedback between service providers, landlords, council staff and residents shows that we can make a difference to peoples lives and take people off the street and house them securely.

Thank you for reading and if you want to get involved you can always email me on daniel@survivorblog.co.uk or add me on Facebook



 

 

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
Hove CLP Labour AGM 2017 Candidates

We’re Standing For Corbyn: At The Hove and Portslade Labour CLP IGM

Hi Readers,

It has been over 200 days since the last Labour AGM took place in Brighton and Hove, I can confirm I have decided to again stand as an elected ordinary member, after being elected last year and having the results annulled I am keen to get to work and help to strengthen Labour in Hove.

Those butterflies I got last year have returned with the election set to be just as special as the last, those minutes standing there waiting for the count results are nail biting.

Whoever you decide to choose, I want to wish all the candidates the best of luck and in the spirit of future unity within Brighton and Hove Labour, lets conduct ourselves in a comradely manner.

See you Sunday,

Daniel Harris

Date, Time and Venue

Date and time: Sunday 5th February 11am please arrive at 10.30 for registration.
VenueRalli Hall 81 Denmark Villas, Hove BN3 3TH
IMPORTANT: Please arrive promptly for registration; the meeting will begin at 11am. Please bring one form of ID with you for registration purposes (a bank card, drivers licence or membership card will suffice).

Meet The Corbyn Supporting Candidates For Hove and Portslade

Hove CLP Labour AGM 2017 Candidates
Here’s who will be standing for Corbyn:

Profiles for Candidates will be uploaded later. Check back

Anne Pissaridou for Chair

Anne says:

“I am asking for you to elect me Chair of the Hove and Portslade CLP. At a critical time in our country and for our party, I will bring experience and dedication to the role.

My values

I have been a member of the Labour Party for most of my adult life. I passionately believe in a united Labour movement ready to tackle harsh, unfair and backwards-looking Tory policies and in particular to fight against the continued focus on austerity which is ineffective economically and profoundly damaging to the vulnerable members of our society.

Together we must resolutely challenge rising discrimination and inequality and together we must protect the NHS from privatisation. I have always supported our democratically elected leader and am proud to support Jeremy Corbyn.

I am a passionate and consummate campaigner and have led or been involved with every campaign in the city since I came here over 10 years ago.

Relevant Experience/skills

  • I am Portslade branch secretary having served on the exec in various roles for over 10 years
  • I was involved in the creation of the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party and served on the Executive Committee on two occasions. In July 2016, I was elected, by an overwhelming majority, as Vice Chair Campaigns of the City Party.
  • I was the Labour spokesperson for Children and Young people and even though Labour was the third party I believe that I helped to influence local education policy.
  • I served on the Executive Committee of H&P CLP as secretary, and then on the exec of BHDLP. I was encouraged by two local members to put myself forward as a local authority candidate for the election in 2011. With a great team and a clear strategy, I won the seat, unseating a Tory against the odds.
  • I have chaired various committees, in my working life (civil service), union rep and local Councillor.
  • I have chaired committees and employment appeal panels on BHCC
  • As women’s officer, I set up the local womens forum
  • I have used my legal training to familiarise myself with the rules and regulations of the party — it is important that the chair knows the rules and how to apply them without prejudice.

My pledge to you

I do not believe in secret backroom deals, I believe that it is important that we are open fair and transparent as an Executive committee, and I will ensure that this is embedded in all our actions. I am acutely aware of the divisions, locally, in our party and will work towards reconciliation. If I am elected I will ensure that everyone has a chance to express their views in a comradely supportive way.

We need to make sure that Labour is at the heart of the community and I want to play my part in spearheading exciting and successful campaigns that ensure we elect a Labour government and have a council with the majority it needs to put our principles into practice.

Throughout my life I have demonstrated a keen work ethic and tackle everything I do diligently and to the best of my ability, even when this involved juggling full time work, family responsibilities and political work. This has required an ability to prioritise and focus as well as an understanding of teamwork. These skills I believe will make me an ideal chair.

James Ellis for Secretary

Kate Knight for Vice Chair (Membership

Georgio Finella for Vice Chair (Campaigns)

Becky Massey for Treasurer

Danielle Spencer for Women’s Officer

Daniel Harris Ordinary Member

Asa Jansson Ordinary Member

Riad El-Taher Ordinary Member

Anne Mitchell Ordinary Member

Pauline O’Connor Auditor

Ben Armstrong Auditor

My Shame, Your Shame, Everyone's Shame Image

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!