DESTRUCTION: Safety Fears With Council Emergency Accommodation

Destruction Leaves Residents In Fear After A Ceiling Collapses

Last year I exposed a similar emergency accommodation story, a families ceiling collapsed due to structural and disrepair issues which almost collapsed in on him. Just one year later the same thing has happened again.

The premises on Westbourne Villas Hove is an Emergency Accommodation building housing  vulnerable people, I was contacted by a concerned resident with these images.

brighton-emergency-accommodation
Four inch thick plaster covering the whole room and soaked in water

One resident said:

They’ve already been and cleaned the flat up and ushered the resident to another building, the clean up has started

I understand the initial fall happened on the Thursday evening, whilst the resident was out.

Emergency-Accomodation-Westbourne-Villas
Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building

I was then informed on the Friday that at around 1:30pm in the afternoon, the Emergency Accommodation building began shaking and then another fall happened.

emergency accomodation two huge holes in the ceiling baron homes
Two huge holes left after the ceiling collapses

ETHRAG (Emergency And Temporary Housing Residents Action Group) have raised this and other incidents with ward councillor’s Tom Bewick and the lead for homelessness Clare Moonan with the images and our concerns.

Clare Moonan was contacted by ETHRAG and has responded saying:

I will make some enquiries into this property and get back to you.

Emergency Accommodation Tips For The Council

  1. 19-20 Westbourne Villas, Hove needs to be inspected by Health and Safety and Council Structural Surveyors.
  2. The Building needs to be given the green light as safe.
  3. Ward Councillors need to ask for the inspections reports for these properties and see if these issues have been raised previously.
  4. Ward Councillors need to visit the building and talk with residents.
  5. Brighton and Hove City Council need to change the regulations around Temporary Accommodation and require landlords to provide structural surveys to ensure safety standards.

At A Recent Committee Meeting

Watch me ask the question at the Housing & New Homes Committee – Wed, 18th Jan 2017 – 4:00 pm – via the Brighton & Hove City Council Webcasting here.

On the 18th January I asked the council this question:

Can the council explain why they do not request and record structural survey reports for Emergency Accommodation buildings which house the vulnerable?

The Chair Anne Meadows said this

Structural Surveys remain the responsibility of the building owner or head licensee, the contracts contain standards required of the accommodation.

I then raised a further question stating the the Town, Country and Planning Act states that when buildings are listed that its the councils responsibility to enforce action to retain the buildings structure in accordance with the grade listed status.

The response was 

I think we are going to have to get a written response to this, a full written response will be sent on to you. We will circulate the response to all members of the committee.

Basically people they the council are actually liable when these buildings are listed and they knew this, so they accepted it requires a written response, basically I was armed with knowledge know they would provide a pitiful response to my initial response which has to be submitted 7 days before to give them time to respond.

Your supplementary question is hidden and thats the key question in these matters, get the avoidance of responsibility in response to question number one and follow up with a killer question.

The Labour Council Needs To Do More

The images above, this blog and the people out there daily helping others deserve a voice and need to be heard, on some issues we are being heard, quietly! We are actually giving the councillors heads up yet they are still not listening.

The fact is these landlords like Baron Homes, are making over £1100 in total per room when you include management fees, now this regular income spread across literally 100’s of rooms in the city provides a nice regular income, which can be borrowed against and even re-mortgaged.

But the income continues, this capital is then used to buy more buildings and feed the role they now play in society, that is to literally suck the welfare state dry, if you consider tenants are vulnerable and often unemployed then this money is coming from housing benefit money.

The tax payer is paying for this poor practice, which has little regulation and safeguarding in place to protect the vulnerable with a legally binding housing duty, its these people who ultimately suffer and until this council realises this and walks with the people, I fear for the day when we have a catastrophe here in Brighton and Hove and lose lives.

Change needs to happen and it needs to happen fast Labour and Brighton and Hove City Council.

19-20 Westbourne Villas Hove, Baron Homes Ceiling Collapse Image

Ceiling Collapses as Emergency Accommodation Building Shakes Violently in Westbourne Villas Hove

Last year I told the story of a 26 year old care leaver who was and is still living in Percival Terrace, you see a ceiling collapsed due to structural and disrepair issues which almost collapsed on him and his family, one year later its happened again in Westbourne Villas.

19-20 Westbourne Villas in Hove is an Emergency Accommodation building housing the some of most vulnerable people, on Friday I was contacted by a concerned resident with these images.

19-20 Westbourne Villas Hove, Baron Homes Ceiling Collapse Image
4 inch thick plaster covering the whole room, it looks like a sight from a disaster movie.

One resident said

They’ve already been and cleaned the flat up and ushered the resident to another building, the clean up has started

I understand the initial fall happened on the Thursday evening, whilst the resident was out.

Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building Image Westbourne Villas
Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building

I was then informed on the Friday that at around 1:30pm in the afternoon, the building began shaking and another fall happened.

Two Huge Holes in The Ceiling Baron Homes
Two Huge Holes in the Ceiling

ETHRAG The Emergency And Temporary Housing Residents Action Group, which I founded and am secretary of have discussed this and other incidents and contacted the ward Councillor Tom Bewick and the lead for homelessness Councillor Clare Moonan with the images and our concerns.

Clare Moonan was contacted by ETHRAG and has responded saying:

I will make some enquiries into this property and get back to you.

What Needs To Happen

  1. 19-20 Westbourne Villas, Hove needs to be inspected by Health and Safety and Council Structural Surveyors.
  2. The Building needs to be given the green light as safe.
  3. Ward Councillors need to ask for the inspections reports for these properties and see if these issues have been raised previously.
  4. Ward Councillors need to visit the building and talk with residents.
  5. Brighton and Hove City Council need to change the regulations around Temporary Accommodation and require landlords to provide structural surveys to ensure safety standards.

At A Recent Committee Meeting

Watch me ask the question at the Housing & New Homes Committee – Wed, 18th Jan 2017 – 4:00 pm – via the Brighton & Hove City Council Webcasting here.

On the 18th January I asked the council this question:

Can the council explain why they do not request and record structural survey reports for Emergency Accommodation buildings which house the vulnerable?

The Chair Anne Meadows said this

Structural Surveys remain the responsibility of the building owner or head licensee, the contracts contain standards required of the accommodation.

I then raised a further question stating the the Town, Country and Planning Act states that when buildings are listed that its the councils responsibility to enforce action to retain the buildings structure in accordance with the grade listed status.

The response was 

I think we are going to have to get a written response to this, a full written response will be sent on to you. We will circulate the response to all members of the committee.

Basically people they the council are actually liable when these buildings are listed and they knew this, so they accepted it requires a written response, basically I was armed with knowledge know they would provide a pitiful response to my initial response which has to be submitted 7 days before to give them time to respond.

Your supplementary question is hidden and thats the key question in these matters, get the avoidance of responsibility in response to question number one and follow up with a killer question.

The Labour Council Needs To Do More

The images above, this blog and the people out there daily helping others deserve a voice and need to be heard, on some issues we are being heard, quietly! We are actually giving the councillors heads up yet they are still not listening.

The fact is these landlords like Baron Homes, are making over £1100 in total per room when you include management fees, now this regular income spread across literally 100’s of rooms in the city provides a nice regular income, which can be borrowed against and even remortgaged.

But the income continues, this capital is then used to buy more buildings and feed the role they now play in society, that is to literally suck the welfare state dry, if you consider tenants are vulnerable and often unemployed then this money is coming from housing benefit money.

The tax payer is paying for this poor practice, which has little regulation and safeguarding in place to protect the vulnerable with a legally binding housing duty, its these people who ultimately suffer and until this council realises this and walks with the people, I fear for the day when we have a catastrophe here in Brighton and Hove and lose lives.

Change needs to happen and it needs to happen fast Labour and Brighton and Hove City Council.

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.