Family Hit By Revenge Eviction

Baron Homes: Secrets, Lies & Revenge Evictions.

Back in May I exposed the links between Baron Homes Corporation Limited, Panama Papers, Tax Evasion and the Robbery of the State.

Who Are Baron Homes Corporation Limited?

Set up in the 90’s after the conservative government introduced the Right to Buy Scheme Company No: 02930345. Baron Homes are everywhere to be found in Brighton and Hove today and have enough assets to launch legal action anytime someone speaks out.

I don’t have a pot to piss in, excuse the expression!

Since this company have been in operation, we have seen a huge rise in the private rental sector, the sale and loss of many council owned homes in Brighton and Hove, a huge rise in homelessness and the rise of the Private Sector taking ownership of Temporary and Emergency Accommodation.

The below image is just one example of linked companies buying up council assets for redevelopment into luxory accommodation, now a 1 bed is on the market for £950pcm – This compares to the average homemove rent of £300pcm.

Image of Building
Baron Estates Ex Brighton and Hove City Council Building Redevelopment

The Hidden Homeless: File on 4 BBC Radio Documentary

Last night the BBC broadcast  a 40 minute documentary focusing on the impact of living in Temporary Accommodation, the reasons for this including the sale of council owned properties and companies acting like cartels.

Listen to the file on 4 current affairs hidden homeless documentary based partially on my campaigning and Brighton and Hove.

Latest government figures show councils in England took on 15,000 new homeless households between April and June this year – a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.

Terri and Angela two single mothers living in Windsor Court, Windsor Street Brighton, contacted the BBC regarding issues relating to the accommodation and to explain why Emergency Services are onsite, as reported by BBC Sussex a few weeks back.

Within days of this the mothers faced reprisals for speaking out, what they call as a targeted revenge eviction from Baron Homes.

Meet Terri who was quickly evicted by Baron Homes and removed from Brighton and Hove

Family Hit By Revenge Eviction
Terri fears reprisals so has asked I not Identify Kane for security reasons

Initially Ben Weisz Political Reporter from the BBC visited Terri at the notorious Baron Homes Accommodation known as Windsor Court, to discuss the number of Ambulance Callouts for the Property, which as you can see has jumped to about 2 per week in 2016.

Ambulance Dispatches Emergency Accommodation Brighton and Hove

On the 18th October 2016 another BBC Journalist Simon Cox contacted the family as part of a documentary around Hidden Homelessness, Terri wanted to speak out and help educate the wider public on what life is like living in Emergency Accommodation as a single mother.

Terri states – The caretaker from Baron Homes forced entry to flat 17 where we then were, and aggressively removed Simon Cox to the extreme of seeing him out the building.

Terri explained that at that time, there was nothing to written within the contract about not allowing media visitors at Windsor Court. Residents are allowed visitors during set times.

The next day 19th October 2016 Terri explains that she came home at 12:45pm to find her flat had been entered without prior notification or knowledge. She explains  that during bad weather the door window pane was broken, and whilst she was unhappy they had entered her flat without prior notice, that getting it fixed was more important.

Then Terri explains – 

The glass company contracted out by Baron Homes had decided to shave and cut the glass in my home, glass was all over my carpet and they clearly didn’t use dust sheets leaving glass shavings all over the entrance.

I rang Baron Homes and asked them to send someone out about this as I was now very upset whilst waiting for Baron Homes to arrive, I also called the Brighton and Hove City Council being placed on hold.

Terri then states that at around 13:03pm, she saw over her balcony Matt the Baron Homes Caretaker arriving alone, she says there was something different about him so ran to the second floor, then down to the first floor to meet Matt.

She explains that whilst on hold and on loud speaker, Matt started taking photos and then the council advisor answered saying “we are sorry about the wait”. Matt hears that Terri is on the phone to Brighton and Hove City Council.

Terri States –

He realises I’m ringing the council, he said – “you’re not still ringing the council are you?” I said,  ‘well yes, I didn’t know this was happening and they’ve left my home in a mess and its dangerous,’

The Caretaker said sarcastically “you have a hoover don’t you?” Terri said “it’s not my job to clean that, it should not be there!”

The Caretaker walks back from the lift door, and says

Terri I’m talking to you as a friend, if you ring the council and complain I will tell Baron Homes you broke the glass yourself and you’ll have to pay £75. so Terri said “so you want to blackmail me? The Caretaker stated “No I’m talking to you as a friend, you complain and I tell them you lied”

Terri states that a week prior another caretaker called Ali informed the council officers who were doing an inspection of the property that the glass was broken by the wind.

Then Terri explains she said if Matt explains she broke this, that he would look stupid as it had already been reported as an accident.

The Caretaker Said to Terri “don’t call me stupid you fat bitch, I’ll kick you out then” Terri said “how are you going doing that though Matt? I’ve done nothing wrong, but come home to get pissed off and have you try blackmail and now threaten me? Are you joking?

Matt now moves forward backing me to the wall, I can smell the coffee on his breathe “hang up the phone!” (At this point two BLACK men open the door from 17 seeing matt backing me to the wall) Matt noticed them alerting me I shout, (Help! Can you hear this he’s blackmailing me!) Matt perks up shut up you stupid bitch ” the two men shout what’s going on? And Matt walks now towards them, I shout so now two MEN are here you want to walk away?

Angry because I was intimidated I called him a pussy and  I shouted at him how dare he scare me and my child who was stood between us the whole time and then walk away when men come out because your behaving wrong! Are you joking come on don’t be shy now I shouted, as he walked down the stairs instead of answering me he simply shouts “shut up you stupid bitch your a liar, she’s a liar everybody”

Terri says – Now shaking and scared senseless I grab my son and keys and walk out to the front of the building in hope to catch the two men who had interrupted. As I left they were there, they asked me if I was okay and we had started to discuss what had happened.

Finally the Male council staff member answered around 13:15pm she states the Caretaker saw her speaking to the council officer and shouted ‘oi’ then said “just remember who they believe”. then passed her a room cancellation notice.

Terri States the Council staff member asked her to come down to the council. By the time she got there, she states her son was traumatised by the incident and wouldn’t take his hands away from his eyes.

She states that Baron Homes contacted the council made an allegation of 4 separate racially abusive incidents which was the reason they cancelled her room – Also they said because she didn’t pay for the window, which she didn’t break.

I have asked Terri if she had received any previous warnings in writing and she has stated no, Terri refutes the allegations and in fact defiantly went to the police station to report the incident with the caretaker. Which they couldn’t take further due to no evidence.

I contacted another resident who jumped at the defence of Terri and said

My neighbour has been evicted with just less than 24hrs notice.. On grounds of racism.. She’s not racist. Baron homes told the council that she has had 4 complaints of abuse towards contractors and abuse and racism towards staff.

She spoke to simon cox yesterday and again today after what happened . She made a complaint about her door being fixed without prior notice. The caretaker gave key to glazier who left glass shavings on her floor. She wants to make this even more public via

She has a four year old son. Cant believe they are doing this.

Whats happened to Terri?

She says – I’m now living in Seaford paying £40 a fortnight to get my son to nursery just so he can keep some stability! My son wouldn’t come home for days he was too scared.

I’m in a nice place it’s warm and clean, however I can’t have a Christmas tree for the second year running. Only difference this year is I can not allow anyone to buy him presents. For where am I to put them? I haven’t the room my whole life is now in boxes and bags in the corner of my now home.

I can’t unpack I can’t plan. I just have to go day by day wondering when I’ll get moved.

When did standing up for my rights actually do anything? I mean is having a voice in today’s world worth it. I mean all it’s done to me is take my home away.,Force me and my son into sharing a bed with no ability to watch tv on a sofa again.

I’ve had not a seat to sit on since February this year when I was moved into flat 6 from mouldy 45 which was large compared to my sorry state smaller flat, flat 6.

My son is four he is doing really well at school but this shit just keeps setting him back and me.

I have PTSD, I’m unwell and have been forced to moved again, to pack my life up in less then 24 hours and even had to move myself with no help to Seaford.

It took nearly the whole year to get better after the stress of last year to the point I had key workers coming from left right and centre.

Now I can’t say next year won’t start the same as this one. When will I get my forever home? When will my son get to be a child and have a home and normal bed time and routine. He’s the one that’s been punished not me!

I haven’t lost anything I have him, but for him, he loses friends relationships he’s built will suffer and have to be rebuilt eventually. It disturbs his behaviour at home he punishes me. He suffers not I! So why can’t they see that. Do what you like to me, my baby, boy you best keep praying cause I won’t stop I will rectify what my son has been through no matter what.

There are almost 2000 children living in temporary accommodation in Brighton and Hove, this the story of one. I know who I believe, especially with all the other reports about Baron Homes that I’ve been shown. Make your own mind up and remember if you haven’t already listen to Terri yourself. 

What Is Your Emergency Accommodation Hell

ETHRAG – The Emergency and Temporary Housing Residents Action Group based in Brighton and Hove, have been in contact with a filmmaker who is doing a documentary on the dismantling of social housing  and effects on peoples lives.

If you live in Emergency Accommodation in Brighton and Hove then this affects you, I really want to highlight what is it like living in Emergency Accommodation, in Brighton and Hove in the last 2 years £4om has been spent paying private limited companies and individuals  to house the vulnerable.

I am look for people who want to speak out, either on firm by getting involved in future ETHRAG projects or anonymously. You are welcome to submit your story by emailing daniel@survivorblog.co.uk with your story alternatively we can meet for an informal chat.

This is about humanising the effects that not having secure council housing and how this is affecting our lives.

Are You A Care Leaver?

I am concerned that there are young care leavers under the age of 21 in Emergency Accommodation or even homeless and sofa surfing, as a care leaver myself I want to highlight your issues to help get you into the right accommodation.

Mentally Or Physically Disabled

The standards in Emergency Accommodation can at times be shocking, how does this affect you if you have a Mental, Physical or even Learning Disability? visitors are often not allowed, lifts break down, there are lack of lifts and many stairs, how does the isolation affect you? I am really concerned that the affects of living in Emergency Accommodation is actually making peoples health worse in some instances.

Are You Living With A Terminal Illness?

I have heard reports that there are people living with a terminal illness living in Emergency Accommodation, I think is this unacceptable and strips the vulnerable of dignity. Is this something you can associate with? Contact me with your story.

Have You Simply Had Enough?

Fire alarms, leaks, smells, lack of cooking facilities, neglect, depressed, tired, hungry, in recovery whatever the reason, I understand. Why not put into words why you have had enough, the council aren’t listening and I think its time we all start to take a little more ownership and share our stories. You can read on this blog that I’ve reported much, nut now I need you.

We are hoping to start a new project based on these stories which will give you even more opportunities to get involved and contribute, there is much that needs to be done, but I promise you that things are starting to become public and this is putting much pressure on polititions, landlords, businesses, Dr’s and many other key people involved in changing things for the better.

Again you can email me daniel@survivorblog.co.uk with your stories or if you want to meet up informally. You can also add me on social media. Facebook, Twitter

Care Leavers Hidden In Emergency Accommodation

Being a care leaver myself, I understand the challenges we face with society, we know that 1 in 2 kids in care today have a mental disorder, many not diagnosed.

We know that 1 in 4 persons in prison today were previously in care, so I have to ask the question, why are care leavers being shoved into emergency accommodation by Brighton and hove city council?

I recently spoke to an 18 year old called Callum who was in care, he has a complex past but wants desperately to move forward with his life.

Callum lives in Pervical Terrace and has issues with alcohol and drugs, however under the mentorship of local residents is responding, I also recently wrote to his ward councillor and lead for youth Tom Bewick, who is also a care leaver for help with Callum.

In the email I explained Callum’s vulnerabilities and made it clear I didn’t want another care leaver to fall through the net.

Care leavers are often isolated from society and people, they feel lonely and to be thrown in emergency accommodation in my view is like locking them up in prison.

As a society we need to see care leavers for who they are, vulnerable people not bad people. We need to get rid of the stigma and ensure we are complying with government leglislation, which states the council have a care of duty to protect and house care leavers up until the age of 25.

Do you currently live in emergency or supported accommodation and were previously in care?

If so I want to hear your story and help you and other care leavers to move on with your lives.

Email me at daniel@survivorblog.co.uk with your details and I will contact you.

Its time the local authority started to act rather than delay.

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!!! 🙂

 

Image of Collapsed Roof

26 Year Old Care leaver and Family Living in Fear

A young couple under the age of 26 narrowly misses the collapse of a ceiling whilst staying in Emergency Accommodation In Brighton & Hove, just two weeks prior the couple Jamie and Sandra reported their concerns to Brighton and Hove City Council, who did nothing. Check out my full story!

Background

A few weeks ago two council staff attended Percival Terrace for ‘routine inspections’ (they have only been routine since I started my campaign). A young couple in the Emergency Accomodation who have a baby reported problems with the roof, I took counter notes against what was recorded by the council officers and took images which you can see below.

What Did The Young Family Report To The Council

Just four months ago Jamie and Sandra welcomed their daughter, these are supposed to be exciting times, yet they live in fear of their families safety. I talked to Jamie and asked him what its like for him and his family to be living in Emergency Accommodation.

Jamie said “There have been incidents since we moved in, first a guy committed suicide, then there was a guy in the hallway crazy on the legal high ‘spice’ I heard someone got stabbed, then just a few weeks back their was a guy who broke into someone else’s room and was caught Masterbating, we shouldn’t be bringing up a kid in this environment”.

Later on in conversation Jamie’s was telling me how he has been living in these types of places since he left care, around six years.

I am disgusted that this young family are having to live like this, what hope do they have surviving as a family in these conditions, they are cramped, the toilet is broken, walls are falling apart, the stress and pressure they all must be feeling doesn’t bare thinking about.

The Housing Act states that Children in care are in priority need and should be given preference on the housing allocations policy, I would like to challenge why Brighton and Hove City Council have allowed a care leaver to be in this position, Jamie tells me he had over 50 foster parents as a child, this Adult who has a history if depression and anxiety needs a secure home not to live in what feels like another care home.

I will be writing to the Head of Children’s Services myself to ensure his case is assessed as this young family and all families should not be living in emergency accommodation. They are also worried about;

  • The roof Caving in on them
  • Hot Water Problems
  • Inadequate facilities and space for their baby
  • Problems with the Windows
  • The Electrics
  • Toilet problems

 

On Saturday 28th May the Ceiling Collapsed

As reported on Sunday I was given a tip off with regards to Pigeons in the water tank located in the attic. I have been informed that the reason the ceiling collapsed was because they found a dead Pigeon in the water tank, which blocked the overflow, this was the result.

The Result of the Ceiling Collapse Room 47 Percival Terrace

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What The Rooms Directly Above In Room 56 Looked Like

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The Images of Room 58 Following the Collapse

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How Do Residents Feel?

Residents do not feel safe in these places anymore, we have tried to reason with the council and I myself emailed the Head Of Temporary Allocations and Emergency Housing on Friday 27th with my concern and within 1 day this happened.

What Did I Report In My Email

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 14.50.58

What Can We Do To Hold The Council And Landlords To Account

Emergency and Temporary Housing Residents Action Group Logo
Join Our Residents Action Group Today

If you are a resident in Brighton and Hove Living In Emergency or Temporary Accommodation, on the 8th June at 7pm, we are holding a residents meeting, during this meeting we will be setting up a residents association. Come alone to the Friends Meeting House, you can RSVP here.

Journalists and Researchers

If you want more information on this or other events please contact me.

Join Our Campaign Called Homes To Live In Not To Live Off

Home to live in, not to live off campaign Logo
Join Our Campaign Today

Click Here To Join

Brighton and Hove City Council Sleeping Rough Strategy 2016

This is the cities answer to tackling rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove.

The City’s Vision

People sleeping rough die younger than the general population yet the cost of preventing rough sleeping or supporting someone back into independence is much less than the cost to the individual and society than a life on the streets. Our strategy vision is:

“To make sure no-one has the need to sleep rough

 in Brighton & Hove by 2020”

  The City’s Strategic Priorities

To help us come together as a city and deliver the strategic vision, we have focussed our strategy on five priority areas:

  1. Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping – to provide a consistent message about housing options that helps services prevent homelessness and moves people away from sleeping rough
  2. Rapid Assessment and Reconnection – outreach to assess the needs of people sleeping rough to plan support, and where appropriate, reconnect people with friends, families and support networks, before they are fully immersed in street life
  3. Improving Health – to ensure people sleeping rough are supported by health and social care services that help them to regain their independence
  4. A Safe City – making sure people sleeping rough, residents and visitors are safe and free from intimidation
  5. Pathways to Independence – to support people sleeping rough into regaining their independence
Within these priorities there is an underlying principle that, as a city, whether service commissioner, provider, community group, or individual with the desire to help, we need to work together to provide a consistent message and response to rough sleeping to support people to turn a corner and improve their lives.

You are then requited to answer:

Do you support the city’s revised strategic priorities?

  • Yes
  • No – What is the actual change?

My Response

Point 1 – Sorry to be blunt but all this money wasted on consultations, or 250k developments in Whitehawk for a flat at “affordable rates” or the current emergency housing situation whereby residents are killing themselves is what we face currently.

What we have above are statements that are not measurable. To prevent Homelessness means the system needs to change – if you cant change the system, then you aren’t going to make a difference. Sorry but this is fact!

Point 2. -* NO EMERGENCY HOUSING IN PRIVATE HANDS – 31% of all homeless applications are by those whom were homeless because of privately owned places evicting residents on a nightly licence, Emergency housing, in privitasation of property are creating the problem.

The workers in these slums tell me I should be lucky I have a roof over my head, how dare they! Ive worked all my life, paid into the system all my life, and their is no system left – why is this? because I never paid into a system, I paid a rich people a wage from my own income. My taxes weren’t invested, my taxes paid for interest payments and dodgy deals. FACT!!

Point 2 & 3 – Improving Health: How about allow visitors! – If we had 24 hour supervision with qualified support workers, decent facilities and a secure place to live with a pathway for recovery. – Not the current system.

You want family and friends to support residents but they aren’t allowed to see them in Emergency Housing, in their own place which they need to call home. Do you want to know how to improve health – Give the workers a low cost place to live, which gives them money to spend, money they can spend on the local economy not to tax havens and greedy landlords like Baron Homes or Helgor trading limited.

We need An official handover – None of this ‘sign a form at Bartholomew square and the rest you deal with….ALONE’ – We need set standards agreed – not by government regulation but set by the city, Brighton and Hove residents are progressive we do not adhere to tory rules.

Residents need to fully understand what conditions they are going to live in, I can see why people live on the streets, those who have come out of prision, are basically back in prison in Emergency Housing.

Now WATCH AN EPISODE OF THE OLD PRISONER CELL BLOCK H, REMEMBER THE HALF WAY HOUSES, THIS IS BRIGHTON EMERGENCY HOUSING TODAY IN 2016. This is not enough I am sorry.

Point 3 – Improving health – Well to improve health firstly you need a good diet, IF you can show me a way to live on £2.50 a day with the service charges, council tax, storage charges, bus fares and internet then I will stand corrected – remember residents have a fridge, and a microwave. They need their 7-A-Day – they need minerals, Protein and fibre etc…

5 – A pathway to independence – Independence from what? greedy landlords? any vulnerable person in the private rental sector is 10 times more vulnerable – I will be exposing and setting out plans to really improve conditions in Brighton and Hove, not because I want a career, because I care! I was born here and have seen the devastating effect this system has had on the city since the 1980s and I am done.

The city need a pathway to independence, independence from privatisation, investment in people, investment in homes, investment in real community.

My name is Daniel Harris and I will continue to pursue this plight until people stop dying alone and secluded in squalor and until a council is brave enough like me to stand up for peoples rights, I don’t get paid for this, I am in recovery myself, but I have a conscience.

The only way you can improve things is to get rid of the career officers who are taking ‘back handers’ at lunches paid from tax payers money and those councillors who haven’t got the bottle to really fight for the residents in the city.

I graduated from Whitehawk, one of the most deprived places in the South East – I missed years of school, I am a victim of sexual abuse and I am in recovery for a drug addiction.

People like me know the truth and have lived it, I know what we need. We need specifics not the above. Sorry!

What do you think of this as the 5 main points? do you think this will end street homelessness? – remember they intend on fining beggars £50 on the spot – £50 quid they can pocket. another fine another revenue stream all whilst private companies profit and those homeless are exploited until they give up and kill themselves or they move abroad with the other 5 million who have HAD ENOUGH!

FACT SINCE NOVEMBER 2015 4 ADULTS HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE, 2 IN 1 MONTH!  

People are killing themselves because they feel alone, the Samaritans is not the answer, give them hope, give them a vehicle to improve and move on, if you leave them no hope they die. 

More detail from the council on the above. Its just words I am telling you, they have no real solution.

Priority 1: Prevent Homelessness and Rough Sleeping

To provide a consistent message about housing options that helps services prevent homelessness and moves people away from sleeping rough

As a city, we need to manage people’s expectations about the availability of housing. Brighton & Hove is an expensive place to live and at the same time wages are relatively low making housing affordability a challenge for many. There are approximately, 23,000 households on the housing register, with 1,500 in temporary accommodation and only around 700 properties becoming available each year.

Average rents are above housing benefit limits putting them out of reach of those not working. In September 2015, just two shared properties were available to rent in Brighton & Hove on rightmove.co.uk within the local housing allowance limit for single people under 35 and, for those aged 35 or above, 14 properties were available within the 1 bedroom limit available, mainly bedsits and studio flats.

Many single homeless households do not fall into a priority need category and hence there is no statutory duty for the council to provide housing under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. For those where there is not a housing duty, the chance of someone being offered social housing is remote because of the extremely high demand against a very small supply.

The Homelessness Strategy 2014 seeks to link into a broader ‘prevention agenda’ to provide advice and assistance to any resident in danger of losing their home. We want to minimise rough sleeping for those who we cannot provide accommodation for and to look at the wider impacts homelessness can have, such as deterioration in mental health, risk of suicide, substance misuse, offending and increased hospital admission. This also minimises the impact on more costly crisis services provided by the council and health services.

To prevent homelessness, the city will:

  • Goal 1: Develop a consistent citywide approach to housing, health, care and other support to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping
  • Goal 2: Improve housing options for single person households

Goal 1: Develop a consistent citywide approach to preventing homelessness and rough sleeping

Brighton & Hove is fortunate in that it has a caring and tolerant population and many people want to help people sleeping rough through supporting charitable work or personal donations. As a city, we want to make sure that all those seeking to help rough sleepers are doing so in a way that leads to sustainable solutions that help encourage people to engage with services to move away from rough sleeping.

Success in preventing homelessness and entrenchment depends on all service providers promoting the same consistent message, a single offer of support focussed on minimising the risk of those getting into crisis and spending time on the streets.

To make sure this happens, all of the city’s organisations working with homelessness will be brought together to develop a Multi-Agency Protocol. This will build on the strengths of existing partnerships that have developed new ways of working with the street population, tackle health inequalities and prevent repeat homelessness as well as removing duplication through multiple assessments by different providers.

Goal 2: Improve housing options for single person household

The city has a strong record in preventing homelessness or finding alternative accommodation where it has not been possible to sustain people’s accommodation. Services provide advice and assistance, to those where there is not a statutory housing duty, on how to sustain their accommodation including their legal rights to remain in occupation. This often allows people some time to find an alternative home.

A new service called Community Connections, provided by Southdown, will help people to stay in their accommodation by working with landlords and agencies to prevent eviction. A range of support services will be provided including wellbeing and mental health, and practical help to support people settle and sustain new tenancies.

Many landlords do not accept tenants on benefits, and those at risk of homelessness are less likely to have a deposit, advance rent, fees or a guarantor. Even if a home is available, there is a gap in providing people with start up cost for private sector tenancies. The current rent deposit assistance is aimed at preventing homelessness where there is a statutory duty to assist. Any change to this requires funding and resources before this could be extended to people were there was no statutory duty.

The council works with a wide range of agencies such as Brighton Housing Trust and the YMCA DownsLink Group to sustain accommodation or source alternatives. Incentives and support for private landlords will help increase the supply of low cost rented housing without high set up costs or guarantors. Landlords will often keep good tenants at lower rent rather than maximise rental values to unknown tenants. The council also works with the prison service and probation to source accommodation for people leaving the criminal justice system who are at particular risk of rough sleeping. Joint work with health and social care through thePathway Plus project supports people leaving hospital to prevent them from being discharged onto the street.

The city needs to be open to innovative solutions to provide temporary affordable homes for single people and utilise initiatives, such as the credit union to provide a way for people to save money to cover the costs of moving on if the need arises. More affordable homes can be found in other parts of the country which may require people to make difficult choices about where they live.

Please refer to pages 19 and 20 of the Draft Rough Sleepers Strategy for the Strategic Action Plan: Priority 1: Preventing Rough Sleeping

2.1

Do you agree with the approach to this priority?

  • Yes
  • No

Q2.2

On a scale of 1 to10 (where 10 is very successful), how successful do you think this approach will be?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Q2.3

What do you think the city could change or do better to achieve this priority?

PLEASE CLICK HERE AND STOP THIS POLICY AND REPLACE WITH A REAL POLICY TO CHANGE THE CITY AND HELP BENEFIT ALL NOT THE RICH WHO HAVE COME HERE AND TAKEN WHAT IS OURS!

ITS OUR CITY, OUR HOME, OUR BRIGHTON!

Public Health Scandal At Notorious Emergency Housing Premises – Part One

Another Day Brings Another Scandal

For months now I have been campaigning locally in Brighton and Hove to push for standards in our cities Emergency and Temporary Housing to be improved and just last week I was given another anonymous tip off.

Contaminated Water Supply in Emergency Housing Premises

The images you are seeing below are proof that the water supply at Percival Terrace could be contaminated, I first moved in in January 2016 and after just a few days I had Diarrhoea I was drinking the water supplied from the tanks in the roof.

As previously reported there have been issues with getting hot water here at Percival Terrace, which has been a little better recently, now I use the water feed to brush my teeth and not long after I moved here, I started getting pains in my teeth.

I went to the dentist who informed me I had a bacterial infection, they gave me a strong course of antibiotics to try and stop the infection spreading, unfortunately the damage had been done, which resulted in me losing a front tooth on the 28th April 2016.

What Do I know?

I know that in 2013 Percival Terrace was refurbished, because they effectively made each room self contained this meant that the building no longer needed a HMO (Homes Of Multiple Occupancy)  Licence, so this was the last time they were checked for one.

I have been informed that the water tank images above had been like this since 2013, so basically these fuckers have been messing with our health by cutting corners, I was also informed that the owners three weeks ago ordered staff to get this quickly cleaned and covered up.

What Have I done about this?

On the 27th May at 12:50pm I phoned Brighton and Hove City Councils HMO Department and asked some questions:

DH. What do the council do with regard to safety checks, what are your minimum standards?

Council. What do you mean about safety checks?

DH. Part of the HMO Licence process, you have a legal duty to conduct safety checks, for things like Electrics, water supply…

Council. We expect to see certifications to know that these have been done, we need to see a five years electrics certificate, yearly gas certificate, EPC, Fire Precaution Certificates,

DH. What about for water?

Council. Errrm I don’t think there is anything for water in it. There is a standards document you can have a look at (click here to read).

The Council Employee was quite helpful when I was asking general questions until I tried to report an actual concern, I have put this recording on this website so you know what it is that I am up against at the council.

The staff are often rude and really don’t seem bothered with peoples health and wellbeing.

Emergency and Temporary Housing Residents Action Group.

We need to hold the council and landlords to account which is why I have set up a residents action group, our first meeting will take place on the 8th June at 7pm, The meeting is for residents in Emergency and Temporary Housing Only and will take place at the Friends Meeting House.

Image of a poster promoting the event
Residents Meeting 8th June at 7pm

If you are a resident and want to have your voice heard, please RSVP on the Facebook group and event so I know who will be coming on the night.

A New Creative Project To Raise Awareness Locally and Nationally.

I am looking for a talented Camera operator who can spare a day in the next few weeks to do some filming with me, I want to interview high profile people and residents in these unsuitable accommodations to help promote the human story and expose the wrongdoings happening today in Accommodation which has been taken out of local authority hands and given to profit making landlords and limited companies.

If you or anyone you know wants to be involved please email daniel@survivorblog.co.uk with your details. I need someone who is able to also do video editing.

Are you a resident in Brighton and Hove who is fed up?

I am looking for people to be brave and come forward, I need picture evidence, stories, maybe you have worked in one of these places before? Be brave and speak out so that others can move forward with their lives.

I recently met Yannis Varoufakis here is what he had to say:

Come back soon for more on this in my two part special story.

 

 

 

 

Brighton and Hove City Council’s Emergency Housing Contractors Named in the Panama Papers

Costa Del Brighton and Hove: The Next Tax Haven
Costa Del Brighton and Hove: The Next Tax Haven

A Brief Background Before I Expose the Truth on Housing in Brighton & Hove

For almost four months I have been living in Emergency Accommodation which is not fit for purpose, back in March I exposed the scandal that is Emergency Accommodation in Brighton and Hove. I successfully managed to single-handedly campaign against this wrongdoing and expose this democratically through a petition, which have 1600 supporters,  before I presented this to the city in person at the Full Council Meeting at the end of March.

In June this petition and the 10 point plan to improve Emergency Housing will be discussed at the new homes committee meeting, when I hope the cities councillors adopt my plan which will help the vulnerable in the city and save the British Public an absolute fortune in Housing Benefit Payments currently paid to private limited companies. 

A Freedom of information Request in Feb 2016 reveals that the amount paid to companies who sub-contract properties out to Brighton and Hove City Council in 2014 was £8,341,572.00, the Amount paid to companies in 2015 was £8,711,572.00

For Hostels in 2014 it was £1,590,181.00 and in 2015 it was £1,551,686.00.

Spreadsheet Showing Amount Spent on Temp and Emergency Housing
Spending for Temp Housing, Hostels and B&Bs in 2013-14 and 2014-15 in Brighton and Hove

A Shelter Report shows

Analysis – dominance of housing benefit Housing benefit is widely recognised as having facilitated a switch from supply side to demand side subsidies.13 The period following 1975 saw a move away from investment in bricks and mortar with a corresponding rise in expenditure on housing benefit.

This was not an accidental shift. Successive governments remained committed to the idea that support should be targeted at individuals rather than bricks and mortar investment to increase the supply of housing

Look at the graph, enough said.

Table showing the increase in Housing Benefit Payments
Housing Supply vs Housing Benefit Payments.

Lets now look at the trend for overall Housing Benefit Spending.

A Table showing the Housing Benefit Expenditure
Housing Benefit Spend Table

Before you blame the welfare state, remember the reason for the increase is the Private Rented Sector, at a whopping 53%

Here is a graph showing the change in Social Housing Tenants vs. Private Rented Sector Housing

Graph showing the decline in social housing

High reliance on temporary accommodation to house homeless households, fuelled by a shortage of social housing, also drives up housing benefit expenditure. Pre-recession it was estimated that a tenth of the housing benefit bill related to rents in temporary accommodation. Expenditure on temporary accommodation costs amounted to £587 million in 2005–06, up from £116 million in 1997–08.5

This isn’t an attack on the welfare state, this is an attack on the current government for trying to destroy social housing in favour of the Private Rented Sector. 

Homes to live IN, NOT OFF


Helgor Trading Ltd’s Directors are Named in the Panama Papers

Helgor Trading Ltd, who have a management contact Sample PDF here: BHCC Call-Off Contract Management Agreement and a lease agreement contract, Sample PDF here: BHCC Call-Off Contract Lease Agreement with Brighton and Hove City Council.

According to Companies House Helgor Trading Ltd have Three Company Directors;

Mr Abraham Aharon DODI, MR Nir SHAMIR & Mr John Simon HELFGOTT.

They have around 130 rooms in the city providing Emergency Housing to the homeless and often vulnerable. It is Temporary Housing because essentially we have a non secure nightly licence agreement (like a hotel) as per the contacts above. The nightly cost is £27.86, this is £847.00 a month or £10, 168.90 a year, their is also a £12.50 per week service charge or £55 a month.

Now If I was to live in Social Housing, which I am currently fighting the council for, due to my current circumstances, the average 1 bed flat on http://www.homemove.org is about £75.00 a week Rent, or £3,900 per year, thats £325 a month.

So for just 1 person, the saving in housing benefit is £6,269 per year. I recently detailed this in an open letter to the labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

As of 7pm on the 9th May the Panama Papers database has been available online to search free of charge.

When I searched for the director Mr Abraham Ahoron Dodi on this online database one of the many 66 companies he is a director of Ordan Property Limited Shows up registered in the British Virgin Islands – a known Tax Haven. 

Graph showing links to A A Dodi
Ordan Property Limited – British Virgin Islands Mossack Fonseca & co. Ordan Trust

Some more Facts

The British Virgin Islands Since 2005 have a corporation tax rate of 0%.

When I searched for the director Mr Nir Shamir on this online database one of the many 18 companies he is a director of Nurit Invest Limited Shows up registered in the British Virgin Islands – a known Tax Haven. 

Panama Papers
Nurit Invest Limited

Both of these directors are in the property development business. I am making no claims that both these individuals are doing anything illegal, owning a company in a Tax Haven like the British Virgin Islands is legal.

What I don’t understand is why when they are operating in the UK through many businesses and have contracts with local councils like Brighton and Hove do they need to have companies paying Zero Percent Tax, What I don’t understand is why I am living in a room which is costing tax payers here money and Housing Benefit Payments of 10k plus per year per person.

What I don’t understand is why the hot water here in Percival Terrace is so bad? what I don’t understand is why the windows here are so bad?

One Final Fact – People are committing Suicide here, I know of 4 separate people who have died in this place since Nov 2015. 


 

Another Company who own many Emergency Accommodation rooms in the city is Baron Homes, linked to baron estates and baron developments. Caroline Lucas asks this about one of the properties Windsor Court.

So why does Brighton and Hove City Council continue to house so many vulnerable people there? It’s a question I’ve asked many times. – Caroline Lucas

Caroline then goes on to state

Windsor Court is privately owned so the Council lease it from a private landlord, Baron Homes, who profit from the arrangement. I’ve repeatedly urged the council to put pressure on the landlord to improve conditions, or to simply not renew the agreement at all. Caroline Lucas

Check out some of the other addressed in this FOI Link

THE BARON HOMES CORPORATION LIMITED Director is Named in the Panama Papers

Firstly before I reveal the information, this is what one teenager recently said about the Emergency Accommodation leased from Brighton and Hove City Council to Baron Homes.

About a hundred people are housed in three separate blocks here. Many 18 or under, probably thirty of us altogether. Obviously the people here have a wide range of issues, they’re drug addicts, alcoholics or they have mental health issues. There are definitely a few who are suicidal. It can be a frightening place to live.

I have a plastic mattress and my own cooker, technically I have a lock on the door but they have keys and in any case its quite flimsy. There are two toilets for the whole block and one communal shower, they might be cleaned once a fortnight. Were banned from allowing guests (even family) into our rooms.Crucially, Baron Homes tenants have to find an additional £10 a week service charge from their usually low incomes.

If Brighton City Council are handing over £150 a week per tenant then that’s in excess of £40,000 a week going from council tax payers straight into the coffers of Baron Homes.

Brighton is the homelessness capital of Sussex, as many people come to the city seeking opportunities in the City by the Sea end up broke, desperate and thrown on this trash heap. The percentage of people using Basics banks and emergency accommodation is so high that the council simply cant provide enough property or food. The new squatting laws have meant that as the poor and homeless try to organise their own accommodation they are ruthlessly evicted, leaving them with nowhere to turn except for Emergency Accommodation. Nice little earner!

The Companies House Link shows two Directors currently, but many resignations over the years such as Mr Richard Blencowe,  Mrs Nazila Karimi BLENCOWE a director of 4 companies was found on the Panama Papers Database Linked also to Manor Developments Limited which was incorporated in the Zero Tax Haven British Virgin Islands

Graph showing links to panama papers
Nazila Karini Blencowe Baron Homes Ltd – Manor Developments Limited

Baron Estates have recently purchased Ex Local Authority Owned Council Offices on Bartholomew Square these have been converted into luxury Apartments which are currently advertised on Rightmove for  £950PCM. Check Out the Images in the gallery below.

Again I am not saying that this is illegal, what concerns me is that in a recent blog post I showed you what the Emergency Housing Properties look like from Baron Homes, when you take into account again over 10k is spent on housing benefit payments paying Baron Homes and the Squalor people are living in, and then see a sister company buying up ex council property and converting into luxury homes, many unaffordable to people on average incomes you have to ask the question, firstly is this right? and is their a conflict of interest.


I want to end this blog post by telling you that I recently complained to the Head of Housing about the victimisation I received from the Head of Temporary Allocations, My complaint was upheld.

I have Bi-polar 2, I am dealing with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to some historic sexual abuse I suffered, I was originally rejected for my homelessness application, which was over turned. I recently spoke out on national TV because of mental illness and kids in care.

I am in recovery and currently having counselling and am on strong medication, why am I living in such conditions when companies are making millions and millions from hard working tax payers, like myself.

Their is seriously something wrong in Brighton and Hove and I call for a formal investigation into what is going on at the housing department in Brighton and Hove.

I want everyone who reads this to share this locally and expose the wrongdoings locally.


Other Facts Just In.

  • House prices In Brighton and Hove are 44% above the average

  • Brighton and Hove are the 4th most housing deprived area outside London in England

  • Private rents across the UK increased by 8.2% in 2014

  • Ave 3 bed house rent dec 2013 £1449 per month

  • 37% of private rented homes are non decent (the highest group)

  • 10 billion spent each year on benefits which go to private landlords out of 21 billion

  • 26,284 sold under RTB with new discounts April 2013- June 2015, 3,171 replacement builds starts or acquisitions

#scrapthebill