Tagged: accommodation

Bedroom Tax Victim Forced To Live In A Tent Loses All His Toes To Frostbite

A 32 year-old homeless victim of the hated Bedroom tax had to have all his toes amputated after being forced to spend winter living in a tent, it has been reported today.

Mitchell Keenan, from Skelmsdale in West Lancashire, was rushed to hospital by family members after being discovered with severe frostbite.

Mr Mitchell and his 62 year-old father Keith were evicted from their four-bedroom home after falling behind on rent repayments, due to being hit by the government’s bedroom tax.

Keith has since been diagnosed with a range of serious health problems including scabies, dementia and malnutrition.

His sister Dawn Doyle, 54, tried to find emergency accommodation for the two men “but nowhere would take them”, she said.

Dawn told the Liverpool Echo:

“It’s absolutely outrageous what has happened to my brother and nephew.

“They lived in their home for thirty years and got into difficulty last year.

“They both have neurological conditions and disabilities and kept missing job interviews, so the problem got worse and worse.

Unable to find suitable accommodation, Dawn was eventually forced to buy her brother and nephew a tent.

Dawn says she was unable to house her relatives due to disabilities and being a single parent, but added that she had provided the men with food parcels from a local food bank.

“I felt awful that I couldn’t take them in, but I’m a single parent, with my own disabilities and I just knew I couldn’t cope.

“I tried my best for them and contacted so many different organisations, but just kept getting turned away.

“Social Services said they couldn’t come and assess them because they were in a tent – it was just farcical.

“When we saw Mitchell’s toes we were horrified, that this can happen to people in the 21st century is disgusting.”

“In July they lost their home and I tried everywhere to get them accommodation but nowhere would take them.

“The bedroom tax is an awful thing, it’s affecting people’s lives all over the country and needs to be repealed.”

West Lancashire Borough Council has now provided Mitchell Keenan with temporary accommodation, while his father Keith has been given supported housing.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said the men “continue to be supported through benefits and by jobcentre staff”.

They added: “We have given their local council hundreds of thousands of pounds to support vulnerable people through our housing benefit reforms”.

Source – Welfare Weekly, 27 Apr 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/bedroom-tax-victim-forced-to-live-in-a-tent-loses-all-his-toes-to-fostbite/


Sharp Rise In Number Of Under 25’s Living In Poverty

Shocking research published today reveals a sharp rise in the number of under 25’s and working people living in poverty in the UK.

The latest poverty and social exclusion report, written by the New Policy Institute (NPI) in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), shows how under 25’s and people in work are now more likely to be living in poverty than pensioners.

There are now around 13 million people living in poverty in the UK, with half of those coming from a working family and 1 in 5 are working age adults without children.

In stark contrast pensioner poverty has fallen to a record low under the coalition, according to the report. The decline in pensioner poverty is attributed to targeted government support aimed at protecting older people from the worst austerity cuts.

A changing labour market and the prevalence of zero-hours contracts, part-time work and low-paid self-employment means that moving into employment is no longer a guaranteed route out of poverty.

According to the report, there are around 1.4 million zero-hours jobs that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours. Over half of these are in retail, admin, accommodation or the food and restaurant sector.

Around two-thirds of unemployed people who moved into work over the last year are paid below the living wage. And only a fifth of people in low-paid jobs have escaped poverty wages completely within 10 years, according to the report.

Incomes are lower on average than they were a decade ago with the very poorest taking the biggest hit. For the lowest paid men, their hourly pay has fallen by a shocking 70p per hour, while women have seen their hourly rate fall by 40p per hour.

The prospects for self-employed people isn’t any better either, because analysis shows they earn 13% less than they did just 5 years ago.

jrf-poverty-report-figures

Failure of the welfare system means Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants on the government’s controversial Work Programme are more likely to be sanctioned, or have their benefits docked/cut, as they are to find a job through the back-to-work scheme. And 60,000 disabled people are having to wait 6 months or more for their sickness benefit claim to be fully processed.

The report also highlights a ‘welcome’ drop in the number of people classed as unemployed. However, Welfare Weekly recently reported that as many as 500,000 job seekers could be ‘disappearing’ from official unemployment figures, due to cruel and unjust benefit sanctions.

Children in receipt of free school meals fail to attain five ‘good’ GCSE’s, highlighting a lack of social mobility among children from poorer families.

The report also reveals more people living in poverty in private rented housing. There are now as many people living in poverty in the private sector as in social housing, according to the report. Private landlord repossessions are now more common than mortgage repossessions – 17,000 compared to 15,000 in 2013/14. Private landlord repossessions are the most common cause of homelessness in the UK, say JRF.

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of JRF, said:

“This year’s report shows a real change in UK society over a relatively short period of time. We are concerned that the economic recovery we face will still have  so many people living in poverty. It is a risk, waste and cost we cannot afford: we will never reach our full economic potential with so many people struggling to make ends meet.

“A comprehensive strategy is needed to tackle poverty in the UK. It must tackle the root causes of poverty, such as low pay and the high cost of essentials. This research in particular demonstrates that affordable housing has to be part of the answer to tackling poverty: all main political parties need to focus now on providing more decent, affordable homes for people on low incomes.”

Tom MacInnes, Research Director at the NPI, said:

This report highlights some good news on employment – but earnings and incomes are still lower than five years ago, and most people who moved from unemployment into work can only find a low paid job. Government has focussed its efforts on welfare reform, but tackling poverty needs a wider scope, covering the job market, the costs and security of housing and the quality of services provided to people on low incomes.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This report highlights once again how ordinary working people are being excluded from the recovery and are becoming poorer in real terms.

“Our economy has become very good at creating low-paid, insecure jobs which are trapping more and more families in working poverty.

“The situation looks particularly bleak for young people – many of whom face decades of private renting and diminished career prospects.

“Without more affordable housing and quality employment opportunities, living standards for the many will continue their steep decline.”

A Government spokesman said:

“The truth is, the percentage of people in the UK in relative poverty is at its lowest level since the mid-1980s and the number of households where no-one works is the lowest since records began.

“The Government’s long-term economic plan is working to deliver the fastest growing economy in the G7, putting more people into work than ever before, and reducing the deficit by more than a third.

“The only sustainable way to raise living standards is to keep working through the plan that is building a resilient economy and has enabled us to announce the first real terms increase in the minimum wage since the great recession.”

> By the end of the statement, Government Spokesman’s nose had grown several inches longer…

Source –  Welfare Weekly,  24 Nov 2014

http://www.welfareweekly.com/sharp-rise-number-25s-living-poverty/

Homeless Families Forced To Live In ‘Unsafe’ Temporary Accommodation Soars To Five Year High

The number of homeless families housed in temporary accommodation across England has risen to a five-year-high, the latest figures show.

Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 59,710 homeless households were living in temporary accommodation in England, including B&B’s, at the end of June 2014 – 6% higher than June 2013 and the highest level for five years.

The startling figures have been blamed partly upon a significant rise in the number of private sector tenants losing their homes, as landlords cash in on a resurgent housing market.

Charities raised concerns earlier this year about an apparent rise in the number of ‘revenge evictions‘ (This is Money).

30% of all homeless applications between 1 April and 30 June 2014 came from private sector tenants. The figure represents a 27% increase on the same quarter in 2013 and is the most common reason given by households for becoming homeless.

Gill Payne, director of policy and external affairs at the National Housing Federation, said:

This shocking rise in the number of families stuck in emergency housing is down to our desperate shortage of affordable homes.

“It’s completely unacceptable that we have thousands of people living in so-called temporary housing, including B&Bs, that are expensive, often in poor condition and offer no stability from which to rebuild their lives.”

Figures also show that the number of homeless families with children housed in bed and breakfasts (B&B’s) has risen by 2% to 2,130 by the end of June 2013. The number of households without children living in B&B’s increased by 6% to 4,600.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:

Behind every one of these shocking statistics stands a person or a family who’s gone through the tragedy of losing their home. And what’s more worrying is that we know these figures are only the tip of the iceberg.”

Jacqui McCluskey, director of policy and communications for Homeless Link, said:

The fact that so many people are being placed in temporary accommodation should send another clear signal that there is a desperate shortage of homes that are genuinely affordable to those in greatest need. The alternative of housing people in accommodation like B&Bs is not only unsafe, but is also expensive to taxpayers.”

13,140 households were accepted as being homeless in the second quarter of this year (1 April – 30 June 2014), 2% lower than the same time in 2013.

Source – Welfare News Service, 25 Sept 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/homeless-families-forced-live-unsafe-temporary-accommodation-soars-five-year-high/

Evictions begin as government starts grabbing your homes

Mike Sivier's blog

140222evictions

It is easy to get caught up in headlines and forget that the Coalition’s benefit reforms mean people you know will lose their homes.

You know what happens then? PEOPLE YOU KNOW START LOSING THEIR HOMES.

Vox Political was warning the world about this back in 2012 – nearly two years ago – saying the bedroom tax would put people on the streets while homes go empty and warning about the ‘Poll Tax revival plan to take away your home’. It gives me no pleasure at all to report that I was right.

This week I heard about two cases in my Mid Wales town. You may think that isn’t many, but this is a town with a population of less than 5,000 – and I haven’t heard about every case.

The first involves a family that has been living in the same council house for more than 30 years…

View original post 1,057 more words

One in five people in North East fear having to sleep rough

People in the North East are twice as likely to fear having to sleep rough next year if they can’t pay their bills than people in the south east, a survey has shown.

The stark contrast was revealed in a poll by St Mungo’s, which said one in five people, 21 per cent, in the north east fear they will have to sleep rough if they are unable to pay their household bills in 2014, compared to one in ten in the south east, 9 per cent.

Overall in Britain, more than half expressed concern about being able to pay their household bills – including rent and mortgage – with 13 per cent saying they were worried about having to sleep rough.

More than a third, 32 per cent, of people said they were concerned that they would not have the money or opportunity to find alternative accommodation and 29 per cent said they would not know where to turn to for help.

Charles Fraser, the charity’s chief executive, said: ‘It is clear that people are trying very hard to keep their heads above water but are worried about going under. There are fewer life belts and less dry land than there was. We see no reason to believe that demand for our services will diminish in 2014.

‘While recognising that much good work is done for those in need, it is not a good time to be at the bottom of the pile. Those who are responsible for preventing homelessness need to discharge that responsibility better in order to prevent homelessness before it starts and help people before their health, their relationships and much more is lost.’

The ComRes survey, commissioned St Mungo’s, polled 2,028 people between 20- 21 of November.

Source – Inside Housing, 11 Dec 2013

Students Fuel Housing Feeding Frenzy

“University bosses are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of private landlords applying to turn city buildings into student accommodation.” (Sunderland Echo, 04  October 2013).

They’re not the only ones !  You’d have had to be blind not to notice the number of ‘For Let – To Students’ signs appearing on houses around the city.  Sunderland University (nee Polytechnic)  is big business nowadays, and a whole host of specialist leech industries have grown up around it, and student-only letting agencies seem to be a boom area.

Indeed, it has been noted that one well-known city landlord seems to be moving wholeheartedly into this new area – whether they will be evicting existing tenants to make way for the new cash cows remains to be seen, but given their past record….

It makes sense, I suppose, if your only interest in society is extracting the maximum amount of money. Why rent a house for a single amount  when you can squeeze many more students in and charge each of them ? Add to that short-term contracts, so you’re not stuck with them for long if they’re trouble. Who loses ?

Well, apart from the unfortunate non-students seeking accommodation, or those existing residents finding themselves increasingly in student ghettos. But who cares about them ?

Of course, the university’s main concern seems to be the fact that they’ll not have control of these planned student buildings.  They dont appear to be in the least concerned about the effect on  rentable  houses for the rest of the population… you know, the people who actually live there full time ?  Not suprisingly,  most of the new student lets are also in the most affordable (ie: poorer) areas.

Perhaps the university should be investing in  new halls of residence to go with the few places it already has (I understand it has around 17,000 students, but only has accommodation for 1,547 ).  Even allowing for students who live locally anyway  or within commuting distance anyway…