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!

Are Homeless Homosexuals In Brighton and Hove Being Discriminated Against?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the full PDF data here: minority_report_homelessness

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

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

The councils homelessness strategy states the following;

Our Priority Groups and Issues:

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

In the Next Brighton and Hove LGBT Safety Forum

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

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

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

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

Email me I want to help.

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

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


Add me on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to My Youtube Channel.

Homeless and Bored

Brighton and Hove A City of Hope, Dreams and Desperation

I became homeless again in Jan 2016

Tired
Me tired but alive Having recently went to the full council whereby I presented a petition signed by over 1500 people, detailing the conditions I have to live in. I am in Emergency Housing, My Landlord Helgor Trading Limited – Own two further properties housing the homeless and vulnerable, in total I make this 130 rooms.

Now in the council presentation and the following debate if you haven’t already seen the video you can watch here, the council acknowledged my statement, some councillors even come up to me after and told me how brave I was to come forward, I was told the council officers were looking into my case and I will hear back.

I also set out a plan to improve the standards in emergency accommodation, the initial room they put me in, room 24, was not previously inspected, it hadn’t been cleaned and showed signs of drugs use. I still have the previous occupants diary left under the mattress. I was provided a tiny room, no bed covers, a microwave and they said it was suitable, I saw another door kicked in downstairs and panicked.

I then in manic mode took my belongings and put them in Bishops Move, It costs me £81 per month to store my belongings. I get £74 a week to live on from ESA, with bills including the £50 service charge at Percival Terrace  to pay before I even feed myself I am left with £64 a month or about £2.30 to live off, could you live of that?

The stuff in storage by the way is going to be destroyed or sold because i haven’t been able to afford to pay this, I owe £161, the council have a duty under the housing act to ensure my belongings are not destroyed, they deny this knowledge because I arranged the storage myself. The council office was closed, I was given no advice and they failed to hand over correctly, The council say its affordable if its affordable why am I losing my property.

Check out this video which gives you an understanding on how this is continuing to effect me.


Posted by Daniel Harris on Saturday, 9 April 2016

I am not looking for pity, I am exposing the truth.

My History

Find out more about Daniel Harris

Revelation number 1

On the 16th December at 10:49 am 12 days away from being street homeless and facing eviction I spoke to a housing options manager, yes i was in a manic state, they hadn’t even looked at my homelessness application and proceeded to say point out that i wasn’t the only one on the list, and rolled out figures like bumbling politician. I had made him aware that just the week before I had a panic attack well, four in one hour after meeting him and seeing the officer who turned me away in 2012, unlawfully. and that I had to be hospitalised, however he was rude to me and treated me like a fool. I filed an instant complaint with Brighton and Hove City Council which was never followed up.

To my amazement the same member of staff I complained about was the decision maker for the suitability review on the property I live in, the same one with the waterfall windows.

They decided on 8 weeks 1 day the property is suitable, I am not going to go into my circumstances but i assure you it is absolutely not suitable and as the council have a duty of care they are required by law to ensure a property is suitable and make a decision on the evidence I have provided, the housing options manager failed to acknowledge half of the reasons and for this and the fact he is subject to an official complaint by me means the council have failed to provide a suitable responce withint he 8 week time limit as discloded in the housing act 1966.

I am looking for someone who can see the human side to this story

I need help to stand up and fight for my rights. Feel free to check out my linkedin public profile after having to leave my last role due to ill health, I am disgusted I am or anyone is expected to live in these conditions.

I am an intelligent person, I can speak well when I am not manic or in a depressive period, I would welcome press interviews, tv or radio interviews or any way to expose this wrong doing and help changes peoples lives for the better.

If you want to interview me or have any comments please email them to daniel@survivorblog.co.uk

Revelation number 2 – Another Death

I have been informed that a vulnerable resident here at Pervical Terrace was found dead (suicide) last week, I don’t know anymore information and will update the blog when I have it, however for someone like me to break this news and the local media ignoring this issue shows their is something wrong here. How many more people have to die in these conditions?

Revelation Number 3 – Images from a Baron Homes property for those in emergency housing.

Thanks to another source I have here are some images, if you want to use these images you are required to ask me first for permission to use, you are welcome to share this blog on social media to highlight this issue locally.

I urgently need help from a lawyer to get justice for this, if you are a journalist or a researcher for a documentary Brighton’s Housing Mess and the individual stories linked need to been seen and heard to evoke change.

Again if you want to get in touch email me daniel@survivorblog.co.uk.

I look forward now to my next petition, make sure you subscribe to this blog for more updates or add me on Facebook.

Every man’s home is his castle

In exactly two weeks time, on Thursday 10th March 2016, I will be presenting this petition at the next full council meeting in Brighton and Hove. If you wanted to come along and support me you are very welcome. You can email me for details my email is daniel@survivorblog.co.uk.

Now there have been some developments since I last updated you, health wise I haven’t felt I’ve been doing any better in fact due to the stress and environment I am staying in my doctor has referred me to the psychiatric service, whilst this is really scary for me, due to the pressures and crisis i am under right now I feel I need this support in order to get well again.

When I took the emergency accommodation at Percival Terrace I hoped for a place to stay on a temporary basis to help me get well again and rebuild my life. What I have been left with is cold water showers, poor cooking facilities, noisy neighbours and strange people coming to the door, I am in isolation here as I am not being not allowed any visitors.

I was told today that the council would not pay for my storage fees for my personal belongings. I was given no choice on the accommodation or any notice to move,  I had to Hire a van and pay for the storage at inflated prices because the room they provided me was not fit for purpose.

The council have emailed me today saying “I note that you mention your belongings which are in storage. The council cannot assist with existing costs and you will have to pay for storage of your belongings which you, yourself placed in storage.”

They then went on to say;
“Under s211-212, Part 7, Housing Act 1996 there is a duty for a local authority to protect the belongings of a homeless applicant where accommodation has been provided. This duty is triggered only in circumstances where the applicant is not able to deal with their belongings themselves and where there is a danger of loss or damage as a result. A local authority is entitled to charge for this service.”

I dispute and refute this statement, I have needs, I am not well mentally and have a lot going on at the moment. They then said;

“You may be able to make arrangements to deal with your belongings yourself. If you cannot, however, and you wish for the council to protect them we can do this but you will be charged the cost of removals and storage. Please contact the Emergency Placement Team on 01273 294400 who can arrange this on your behalf.”

This speaks for itself, I had to go a week with food bank vouchers given to me by a great charity called MindOUT.

The distress and trauma I have to deal with excluding the housing situation is hard enough, with this its tipping me over the edge.

Please continue supporting my plight by sharing this petition on social media or by emailing the decision makers for change Sylvia Peckham Sylvia.Peckham@brighton-hove.gov.uk or my MP simon.kirby.mp@parliament.uk.

Sign Petition
We need to stand up against this blatant wrongdoing and together change the housing situation in Brighton and Hove to help people move on, develop personally and either educate themselves or develop career prospects.

The current system doesn’t allow for this and is potentially discriminating with unfair allocations for those with poor health.