Peterborough Council to make £5.3 million from evicting tenants — SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

Peterborough City Council has taken a decision to evict and make homeless 72 existing tenants in order to make £1.77 million per year by replacing them with more homeless families. That’s £5.3 million over three years the council makes! The Peterborough case in which the council is supporting up to 72 existing social tenants being […]

via Peterborough Council to make £5.3 million from evicting tenants — SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)


Homeless ex-soldier, 82, dies hours after being evicted from squat in Manchester city centre

The man, known only as George, was taken to Salford Royal by other homeless ex-serviceman and passed away with them at his bedside

A homeless ex-soldier aged 82 died hours after he was evicted from a city centre squat.

Known only as George, he is believed to have passed away from bronchial pneumonia, a support group for veterans has revealed. He had been living in a disused building in Manchester with 12 other homeless ex-servicemen before they were all evicted.

His ‘band of brothers’ walked with him to Salford Royal Hospital after he was taken ill and he died with four of them at his bedside.

Salford Armed Forces Veterans Network (SAFVN), which is in contact with the group, say they know little about George, but said his death was a damning indictment on support services available for homeless ex-service personnel across the country.

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Universal Credit and the potential legal fallout

Universal Credit (“UC”) is expected to be implemented throughout the UK by 2017. However, there is a great difference in opinion over whether this will be beneficial, or whether it will create more problems than it solves for social housing landlords.

Under the current system, social housing landlords receive rent payments directly from local authorities for tenants who are in receipt of housing benefits. As a result, payments are always made on time and disputes between landlords and tenants over arrears are relatively low, if not non-existent. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP”) wants to change this so that claimants for welfare benefits will be paid a lump sum each month, from which they will have to pay their social housing rent. It is expected that UC will be fully in force throughout the UK by 2017.

It is widely accepted that the current welfare system does need updating as it is seen as too complex following a number of different reforms, making it hard to navigate. Iain Duncan Smith and his colleagues at the DWP think they have the answer to this with the introduction of UC. However, there is a degree of uncertainty over the scheme, which has only been furthered by the experience of private sector landlords. They have found that of their tenants who are in receipt of UC, over 60% were in arrears, and the DWP has been in no rush to address these problems, taking 5 weeks to respond in most cases.

This is a problem that is expected to be mirrored in the social housing market, and it represents the most significant legal problem. If tenants who receive UC do not pay their landlord rent, either because of delays with DWP or because the tenant uses their UC for other purposes, the amount of disputes concerning rent arrears will inevitably increase. The question then arises: what is the recourse for the landlords? There is simply no benefit in bringing legal proceedings to enforce the arrears against the tenant because they have no assets. Consequently, these disputes will fall at the feet of the DWP that, on the evidence from the private sector, is slow in dealing with these disputes. As a result, there is a significant risk in the number of evictions increasing.

Another major issue for social housing landlords associated with the introduction of UC is the amount of tenants which they have who will receive it. There is a major question mark over whether social landlords have the administrative systems in place to deal with the full transmission by 2017. A report commissioned by “Housing Partners” found that social landlords do not have access to the data they need to manage the introduction of UC, which may put them at a huge financial risk.

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Agaraphobic who has not left her home in 20 years facing eviction due to bedroom tax.

Mrs R, an agoraphobic who has not left her home in 20 years as a result of her condition, is facing eviction after accruing a £1,500 bill due to unpaid bedroom tax.

Mrs R has not been able to set foot outside her home since 1995 when her phobia became so severe it prevented her from leaving the house.

However, she now faces court proceedings and potential eviction from her property after accruing £1,500 worth of arrears due to unpaid bedroom tax.  She has been hit with the tax since her two daughters and her son moved out of the property leaving her and her husband, who is her full-time carer as the only occupants of the three-bedroom house.

If Mrs R attempts to leave her house, or even go for a walk in her back garden she immediately suffers from severe panic attacks.

Mrs R is registered disabled and her income consists of Personal independence Payments.  She received a letter from the Council at the beginning of July 2015 informing her that she owed £1,400 in bedroom tax.  After her daughters moved out she was receiving full Housing Benefit, rather than the amount she was entitled to due to her failure to notify the correct agencies of the change in her circumstances.  Mrs R should have been left with a rent shortfall of £14 per week due to the percentage reduction in Housing Benefit for having two spare bedrooms.  Since the letter the bedroom tax has continued to have effect and she has now racked up over £1,500 in arrears due to the bedroom tax.

Mrs R says, “We use the bedroom for my husband, because I often get sick in the night and I keep him awake, so he sleeps in the spare room.  I told them the room is always in use, but they said it doesn’t make any different because he’s my carer, and the courts said he should live in the same room as me.  I think people like me should be exempt from bedroom tax because I am agoraphobic and can’t leave the house.  Even if they offer me a two bedroom place I wouldn’t be able to get there because I’m agoraphobic, they are discriminating against me because of my illness  How can you expect people to move if they cannot even leave the house? It doesn’t make sense; there is no way I can get out.”

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Manchester: Homeless people face jail over city centre tent camps.

A group of homeless people in Manchester face jail after pitching tents in the city centre, the latest episode in a long-running battle between the council and an ever increasing number of rough sleepers.

Six men and one woman are due in court in Manchester on Wednesday, accused of breaking a court order brought by Manchester city council and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). This injunction aims to prevent anyone from pitching a tent in the city to protest against the council’s homelessness policies.

The defendants insist they are innocent and that they were not protesting but simply living on the streets as comfortably as they could. The council sees it differently, accusing them of disrupting residents and businesses in the city centre via vandalism, intimidation and public urination. If the defendants lose they face a fine of up to £5,000 or two years in prison.

Some of those named in the court action had been living for over a month in a makeshift homeless centre dubbed the Ark, underneath the Mancunian Way flyover on Oxford Road on land leased by MMU.

Just one of a number of camps which will greet delegates at this weekend’s Tory party conference in the city, the Ark had portable toilets and a TV powered by a generator, as well as furniture and camp beds donated by the general public. A sign out front declared: “This is not a protest.”

The Ark was cleared by bailiffs on 18 September after the MMU and the council obtained a court order. It followed clearances at other tent camps across the city, including outside the Central Library, in the busy shopping area around St Ann’s Square and by Castlefield nightlife district.

On 3 August the council obtained an unusually wide-reaching injunction from Manchester county court. This stated: “Persons are forbidden from erecting and/or occupying tents or any other moveable temporary forms of accommodation for the purposes of or in connection with protests or similar events arising from or connected with the [council’s] homeless policy” within prescribed city limits.

Following the Ark eviction, the university subsequently erected fences around the dry spot under the bridge where homeless people have slept ever since the flyover was built 50 years ago.

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Britain’s oldest PoW forced to live off charity handouts and facing eviction by Brent Council

BRITAIN’S oldest prisoner of war has been forced to survive off charity handouts and faces eviction because his local council refuses to acknowledge he is not eligible for their help.

Robbie Clark miraculously managed to survive Hitler’s 1,000-mile Death March across Europe in 1945 but is now living in misery after exhausting his £50,000 life savings to pay for a live-in carer costing £960-a-week at his home in Burnt Oak, north London.

The wheelchair-bound 97-year-old, who is also registered blind and deaf in one ear, came into the public eye five-months-ago after Brent Council refused to pay his care costs.

Council workers said they would pay up to £451 in funding a week but this left him facing eviction and being forced to live in a care home – which he fears is like being back in a prisoner of war camp.
Following a 190,000 signature petition in Aprilurging Brent Council to pay for the nonagenarian’s care costs they quickly released a statement saying they would pay all his care costs and he wouldn’t have to “pay a penny in his lifetime” because of the new “deferred payment” scheme which means the council can pay his bills and get back the costs from the sale of his house when he dies.

However, his son, Mike Clark, has revealed his father is now even more stressed as Mr Clark senior does not qualify for deferred payments because he is not in a care home and does not own his house outright.

Mike said he has told the Council three times about his father’s ineligibility but claims they refuse to listen.

He told the Independent: “The council just ignored it when I pointed it out to them on three different occasions.

“The press statement was duplicitous and caused my dad more anxiety. His health is suffering.

“He’s living off of charitable donations from Help for Heroes, the Army Benevolent Fund and the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund. This is all because my dad didn’t want to be in a home – particularly because he was a prisoner of war. He sees it as a loss of his freedom.”

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