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.

Read more here: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/homeless-ex-soldier-82-dies-10458191

 

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.

read more: http://www.24dash.com/news/universal_credit/2015-10-09-Universal-Credit-and-the-potential-legal-fallout?

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.”

read more here:http://www.swainandco.com/housing/agoraphobic-council-tenant-faces-eviction-for-1500-in-bedroom-tax-related-arrears/

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.

Read more here:http://streetskitchen.co.uk/?p=3267

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.”

read more here: http://streetskitchen.co.uk/?p=3098

‘Quiet’ dad shot by police following eviction siege had fallen into rent arrears

I post this as yet another example of a tenant who was clearly extremely vulnerable being evicted. This man had brain damage. He should have been helped by his housing association. Instead they involved the police and he ended up being shot 3 times, and is still in a serious condition in hospital.   – Argotina

Nathaniel Brophy, who is of mixed race, was shot three times following a seven-hour siege at his flat in Brixton last month

Last month, a 34-year-old mixed race man was shot three times by Metropolitan Police firearms officers outside his front door. It was a shockingly violent end to an incident which had initially shown no sign of taking such a dramatic turn.

The use of deadly force by police on British streets is extremely rare – there were only two operations where firearms were discharged between 2013-14. But the shooting, on a housing estate on the edge of Brixton and Clapham in South London, attracted little in the way of media attention at the time.

Today, the Mirror can reveal his identity to be Nathaniel Brophy, a father and former delivery driver described as “quiet”, “introverted” and “polite”.

He was shot three times by police marksmen; once in the right femur, once through the bowel and another in the back. He required three operations to save his life and remains in a serious condition in King’s College Hospital, under 24-hour police guard according to his family. His father Patrice Duval, 52, says it has been touch and go whether he would survive ever since. An infection in the exit wound caused by the third bullet has added to complications.

It is understood Nathaniel had lived at Tilson Gardens in Lambeth for around seven years, renting it from Metropolitan, one of the country’s largest housing associations.

His problems started when he suffered a brain injury in 2010 which left him with occasional speech difficulties and partial paralysis in his hand. After losing his job, he began to run into arrears on his flat and was eventually evicted, his family say. But it is understood on the morning of Friday, August 21, he was able to re-enter his property because the locks had not been changed.

Scotland Yard says the incident began when unarmed officers escorted housing officials to an address at Tilson Gardens as part of a “pre-planned eviction”. At around 9.45am, they gained entry to the property and a man was seen emerging from one of the rooms. A spokesman said officers were “threatened by the suspect” who was “believed to be in possession of a firearm”. The officers withdrew and the firearms squad were called.

A seven-hour siege unfolded, during which the third-floor flat was surrounded by police marksmen and dozens of residents were evacuated. Nathaniel Brophy was shot as he came out of the front door of his flat at around 4.45pm.

As a matter of course, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has been asked to investigate. They say a non-police issue firearm was recovered from the scene – understood to be a 0.177 calibre air pistol. They have also downloaded footage from CCTV cameras in the area and, significantly, from the body cameras worn by officers during the siege.

Mr Duval, who is himself battling cancer, says so far he has not been shown any footage or given any briefing by the IPCC as to what happened.

As Nathaniel continues to recover, his family say the situation could have been defused without shots being fired.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pictured-quiet-dad-shot-police-6447161#ICID

Tenants are being evicted when they complain about the conditions of their homes.

Tenants are being evicted when they complain about the conditions of their homes.

Kelly and her three kids were sadly evicted from their home after she complained about the floor of their rented house saying it was rotten through. They were just 5 of roughly 42,000 people evicted from their homes through the courts last year.

This is a record number, up 11% from evictions in 2013. This is the first time rental evictions have come up to more than 40,000 per year.

The evictions in England and Wales, London had 15,770 evictions last year, North West England had the second worst and Wales had the least amount of eviction.

It’s not always the end when you get evicted sometimes it’s just the beginning. Kelly’s story is one example of how difficult it is to be one of those 40,000 evictions.

Rotten floors, no kitchen and a broken boiler

 Kelly and her three sons moved into a B&B after being evicted for complaining about repairs.

She said: “We were in private accommodation for over three years. The landlord wanted us out because he didn’t want to do the repairs to the property. It took us 7 months to get a kitchen, and over a year to get a new boiler. We had Environmental Health involved. There were illegal gas safety certificates and the floors were all rotten.”

They took their eviction notice to the council and were placed 80 miles away in another borough: “They told us that if we didn’t take this place we’d have made ourselves intentionally homeless and they wouldn’t help us.”

From one bad accommodation to another…

from: http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/forum/discuss/community-forum/the-shocking-stories-behind-britains-surge-in-evictions/