Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness 

Report based on survey of English housing associations and councils suggests government moves to restrict benefits will result in a surge in tenant evictions

An empty property
High numbers of evictions are leaving housing associations in some areas without tenants. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Social landlords are expecting a surge in rent arrears, tenant evictions and homelessness as the government pushes ahead with more welfare cuts and changes, according to new research.

The continuing impact of the bedroom tax, together with moves to extend the benefit cap and impose further limits on housing benefit, will put further financial pressure on tenants, predicts a report by consultants Grant Thornton.

It concludes that the ability of councils and housing associations to mitigate growing arrears has been severely eroded, and increasing numbers are issuing possession orders to tenants who have fallen behind with the rent.

Grant Thornton’s survey of English housing associations and local authorities revealed that a majority had seen a rise in average rent arrears over the past two years, with over a fifth reporting a “sharp increase” in eviction notices being served.

Last week, official statistics showed that tenant evictions reached a six-year high in the first three months of 2015. Over the same period, social landlords made 27,000 possession claims – the first stage in the legal process leading to an eviction.

Councils are also feeling the strain of increased evictions in the private rented sector, with 59% reporting an increase in applications for social housing from tenants who had been ejected by private landlords.

The threat of further evictions will rise after a cut in the budget for discretionary housing payments (DHP) from £165m to £125m this year, the report says. DHP grants, which help tenants with rent shortfalls caused by welfare reform, were originally intended as a temporary measure to enable tenants to stay in their home while they got a job or arranged a move to a smaller property.

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness  

Street Democracy writes: 

‘We hold our doors so they attack in vain, 

but the dissposses can never reign, 

The Tories darkness to desolate our inner peace

Our societal tolerance of this must now cease!

Tory bullies set a furious expedition of fierce hosting with frowning scorn as they devise with fanatical commitment social housing benefit cuts that do not match the ‘real’ agenda of living.

Like a book of hideous horrors, ravenous eyes of blue will rip apart the welfare state budget and the knock on affect will be catastrophic, a real cataclysm of hardship and homelessness.

Feeling powerless is exalted to highest when you have no base, no home and are at the mercy of the state. 

Its cold, void of empathy. 

It’s frighteningly undignified and humilation upon the face of the mother who has no front door key, who holds her child without cover and stands in front of housing officers who follow the tail of the one in front.

An unwelcome forced intimacy of front line reception housing, is filled with love abandon policies, evil in print and administrators unwilling to disobey and put humanity first before unclean wisdom and policy.

You face a plethora of hostile dialogues of conditions and financial sanctions before you are shunted off to unsuitable temporary accommadation and for what.

How many empty properties are there, and how many unscrupulous rich landlords are there?

Always a corrupt capitalist society will put profit before people and this is no exception and it helps only the wealthy.

By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy.

North Carolina Woman Being Evicted From Her Own Land For Living in Tent

North Carolina Woman Being Evicted From Her Own Land For Living in Tent

new Saturday 16th May 2015 at 07:47 By David Icke

‘Ingred Larson received an eviction notice from the county today. Why? For living in a tent on her own property. Yes. Really. She is being evicted for living in a tent on her own land.

10 years ago the city sewer line flooded her home with 10,000 gallons of raw sewage. There was a settlement, however the city/county wants her to hook back up to the county sewer system, but Larson does not want to, and would rather hook up to the septic tank system on her property. The county doesn’t want that, and is forcing her to hook-up to the city sewer.’

Read more: North Carolina Woman Being Evicted From Her Own Land For Living in Tent

Concerned? We Should Be! Unshackled from Coalition partners, Tories get ready to push radical agenda

Unshackled from Coalition partners, Tories get ready to push radical agendanoam-chomsky-political-quote-how-the-world-worksStreet Democracy writes:

Our Tory ‘iron fists of blue’ have legalised mechanisms of closing avenues of democracy, obliterating the ordinary strength of the people, ripping the pathways of voice and criminalising the echo’s of dissent.
‘Soulless suits of blue’ with deliberate fierce hosting over the years was shocking enough. Now their chains are loose, corporate heads remain hidden, power given by seemingly legitimate ‘rig free’ voting system, the chill is in the air of ice blue and it’s settled nicely.
Devoid of moral fibre we shall experience ferocious economic cuts for the poor, disabled, the welfare state, nhs and all those within the lower end of society, while we watch the embracing and supporting of the oligarchs furthering legalised money trafficking from the wealth of the nation to the concentrated few and their pockets.

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The Tories ‘Austerity Package’ just meant financially starve the welfare state, then when it collapses hand it over to the oligarchs. Job well done! By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy

It is clear democracy, the ‘trickle down’ effect has failed, or it hasn’t started ever where the wealthy didn’t control it. Democracy is still a good idea for us to pursue, we just have a ‘different’ kind of democracy, one where the oligarchs control government and defend their own economic interests.
By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy
new Sunday 10th May 2015 at 09:54 By David Icke

‘David Cameron will use the Conservative Party’s first majority in the House of Commons for nearly 20 years to “deliver” on a radical agenda to cut welfare, shrink the size of the state and re-define Britain’s relationship with Europe.

Conservative insiders said Mr Cameron would move to the right to consolidate support among his backbench MPs after five years of compromise with the Liberal Democrats.

Among Mr Cameron’s first legislative priorities will be to enshrine an EU referendum into law, bring in the so-called ‘snoopers charter’ to give police greater powers to monitor internet communications and give English MPs a veto over legislation only affecting England. The Tories also intend to publish plans to scrap the Human Rights Act within their first 100 days. All proposals had been previously blocked by the Lib Dems.’

Read more: Unshackled from Coalition partners, Tories get ready to push radical agenda

Welfare reforms, food banks, malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases are not coincidental, Mr Cameron

Welfare reforms, food banks, malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases are not coincidental, Mr Cameron By 

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The coalition will leave more debt than all Labour governments since 1900. The current government is now responsible for £517 billion of the trillion-plus-pound UK public debt, compared to £472 billion accrued during the 33 years Labour led the country since the turn of the twentieth century.

And the figures look even worse when you adjust for inflation. When you do that, the Coalition’s share jumps to nearly half of the total debt.

But the Coalition don’t meet any public’s needs, they simply serve the wants of  apowerful, wealthy elite. Labour invested in public services, the Tories have bled them dry. So, what have they done with the money? Because the public have seen only austerity cuts. And the most vulnerable bear the brunt of the cuts.

Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Ben Phillips, said: “Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, while millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.”

“It’s deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline.”

Diseases associated with malnutrition, which were very common in the Victorian era in the UK, became rare with the advent of our welfare state and universal healthcare, but are they are now are making a reappearance.

NHS statistics indicate that the number of cases of gout and scarlet fever have almost doubled within five years, with a rise in other illnesses such as scurvy, cholera, whooping cough and general malnutrition. People are more susceptible to infectious illness if they are under-nourished.

In 2013/14, more than 86,000 hospital admissions involved patients who were diagnosed with gout – an increase of 78 per cent in five years, and of 16 per cent on the year before. Causes of gout include a lack of vitamin C in the diet of people who are susceptible, drinking alcohol (beer and spirits in particular) and a lack of a balanced diet generally.

The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show a 71 per cent increase in hospital admissions among patients suffering from malnutrition – from 3,900 admissions in 2009-10 to 6,690 admissions in 2013-14.

Cases of scarlet fever admitted to hospital doubled, from 403 to 845, while the number of hospital patients found to be suffering from scurvy also rose, with 72 cases in 2009/10 rising to 94 cases last year.

The figures also show a steep rise in cases diagnosed with cholera, a water-borne disease which was extremely prevalent in the 19th century, causing nearly 40,000 deaths.

While total numbers remain low, the 22 cases last year compare with just 4 in 2009/10, the statistics show.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, Public Health England’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said the total number of notifications of scarlet fever this year has already reached 12,580 cases – the highest since 1970.

Cases of measles in hospital rose, from 160 to 205 cases, with a small rise in admissions for whooping cough, from 285 to 289 cases over the five years examined.

The figures on malnutrition follow a series of scandals of care of the elderly, with doctors, remarkably, forced to prescribe patients with drinking water or put them on drips to make sure they do not become severely dehydrated.

Charities have warned that too many patients are being found to be malnourished after being admitted to hospitals from care homes, as well as from their own homes.

However, Labour have said the figures a national scandal.

Luciana Berger MP, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said: “This shouldn’t be happening in 21st century Britain and the Government’s response is hopelessly complacent.

“People are living under greater pressure and struggling with the cost of living”.

“Hundreds of thousands are forced to turn to food banks and sadly it’s unsurprising people are eating less, and eating less healthily too”.

“David Cameron needs to listen to what the experts are saying and tackle the cost of living crisis that is driving people into food poverty.”

Cases of malnutrition have been steadily increasing since the 2010 general election.

In 2009/10 there were 3,899 hospital admissions for this, in 2010/11 there were 4,660, in 2011/12 there were 5,396 then in 2012/13 this had risen again to 5,594.

People unable to feed themselves adequately needing hospital admission saw a significant rise to 6,686,  where malnutrition was the primary or secondary diagnosis during 2013/14.This is a rise of 71 per cent from 3,899 in the year up to April 2010.

Chris Mould, chief executive of the Trussell Trust which runs a nationwide network of food banks, said: “This shows increases in diseases related to poverty and that’s alarming.

“Our food banks see tens of thousands of people who have been going hungry, missing meals and cutting back on the quality of the food they buy.

“We know quite a large proportion of the population are struggling to get nutritious food on the table. And at the extreme end of that you get people who are malnourished”.

“We don’t believe anyone should have to go hungry in the UK”.

“The scale of the increases we’re seeing must be further investigated to find out why this is happening”.

Scurvy is a disease associated with pirates stuck at sea for long periods – has increased by 31 per cent in England since 2010. This is caused by a lack of vitamin C and is usually due to an inadequate diet without enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

Figures from January this year from the NHS indicate that there were 833 hospital admissions for children suffering from Rickets – a condition which is caused by a lack of Vitamin D, from 2012-13. Ten years ago, the figure was just 190.

The disease, which causes softening of the bones and permanent deformities, was common in 19th century Britain but was almost eradicated by improvements in nutrition. The body produces vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun, but it’s clear that adequate diet plays an important role, too, since the decline of Rickets happened at a time when we saw an improvement in the diets of the nation as a whole.

It is thought that malnutrition is the main cause, children are most at risk if their diet doesn’t include sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Low incomes, unemployment and benefit delays have combined to trigger increased demand for food banks among the UK’s poorest families, according to a report commissioned by the government and released earlier this year,

The report directly contradicts the claim from a government minister that the rise in the use of food banks is linked to the fact that there are now more of them. It says people turn to charity food as a last resort following a crisis such as the loss of a job, or problems accessing social security benefits, or through benefit sanctions.

The review emerged as the government comes under pressure from church leadersand charities to address increasing prevalence of food poverty caused by welfare cuts. The End Hunger Fast campaign called for a national day of fasting on 4 April to highlight the issue.

The report was written by  food policy experts from the University of Warwick, and it was passed to ministers in June 2013 but had remained undisclosed until February 2014, creating reasonable speculation that the government suppressed its findings.

Examining the effect of welfare changes on food bank use was not a specific part of its remit, and the report is understood to have undergone a number of revisions since early summer, ordered by the Department for Food and Agriculture and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The researchers found that a combination of rising food prices, ever-shrinking incomes, low pay, increasing personal debt, and benefit payment problems meant an increasing number of families could not afford to buy sufficient food.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal, a group of doctors and senior academics from the Medical Research Council and two leading universities said that the effect of Government policies on vulnerable people’s ability to afford food needed to be “urgently” monitored.

The group of academics and professionals said that the surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by British families, and a doubling of the number of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventative action”.

The health specialists also said:“Access to an adequate food supply is the most basic of human needs and rights”.

The authors of the letter, who include Dr David Taylor-Robinson and Professor Margaret Whitehead of Liverpool University’s Department of Public Health, say that they have serious concerns that malnutrition can have a long-lasting impact on health, particularly among children.

Tory ministers have repeatedly insisted that there is no “robust link” between the welfare reforms and rising food bank use, whilst welfare minister Lord Freud claimed the rise in food bank use was because there were more food banks and because the food was free.

It ought to be noted, not least by the government, that people may only access food banks when they are referred by a professional agency, such as social services, the DWP or a Doctor. In particular, vouchers for emergency food parcels tend to be given by benefits officials.

In all but exceptional cases, Trussell Trust food banks will only issue a food parcel to someone with a voucher from an accredited agency. Claimants are limited to emergency aid on three occasions only. This indicates that need, rather than availability, is the key reason for the increased use of food banks since 2010.

Together with the pressure created by rising prices and falling wages, there has been a marked increase in demand for emergency food aid since the welfare reforms came into effect. And this is affecting both people in and out of work.

More than half of people who have visited a food bank since April were referred because of social security problems.

The Government claimed the rapid increase in malnutrition cases “could be partly due to better diagnosis”.

I don’t imagine that it’s likely that Doctors have suddenly become better at diagnosis since 2010.

I do, however, think there is much scope for improvement in the capacity of Tory ministers for understanding correlation, basic cause and effect and simple connections.

However, Tory skills in mendacity, creating diversions and ad hominem are second to none.

 

See also:

Poverty

 An email to authoritarian Tory MPs Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns

Quantitative Data on Poverty from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

430835_148211001996623_1337599952_n (1)Thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent illustrations of t

Bedroom Tax- Defend Council Housing-Latest From The Press…

Latest From The Press…click here for: Defend Council Housing. Pictures displayed by Street Democracy

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18/06/14 Bedroom tax fundamentally flawed, Cambridge University experts reveal

17/06/14 Council homes chat

13/06/14 SHOUT campaign ready for lift-off

31/05/14 Bedroom tax inflicted on disabled child

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24/05/14 Buy to let landlords a disaster for Britain and economy

22/05/14 Shelter: 4000 households risk losing homes each week

22/05/14 Court battles against bedroom tax can be won

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21/05/14 Bedroomm tax fails to address under-occupancy, landlords warn

20/05/14 Cameron may rethink Help to Buy as prices soar

20/05/14 Cable: booming house prices causing real worry

20/05/14 Millions face prospect of home ownership ‘debtor’s prison’

homes

14/05/14 Bedroom tax challenge for children with care needs

13/05/14 Majority of councillors agree first time buyers cannot afford to buy

13/05/14 Playing politics with housing waiting lists

12/05/14 In-work housing benefit claims soar

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24 hours homeless: Spikes aren’t as bad as being punched, kicked or spat on

24 hours homeless: Spikes aren’t as bad as being punched, kicked or spat on

‘Kieran Duggan is only 21 but he is ages old in hardship. He has been homeless from the age of nine and his only possessions are the clothes he is wearing. He has epilepsy and asthma. He has already been hospitalised with hypothermia four times. Yet he has no sleeping bag to keep out the cold, only the clothes he is wearing.

“Being on the streets so young I was really vulnerable,” he says. “I’ve been jumped on and attacked, I’ve had my phone stolen, I’ve even been urinated on.

“Most nights I don’t even try to sleep, I just walk and walk. Sometimes I’ll sit on a bench and fall asleep until a copper comes and shines a torch on me and moves me on. That happens all the time.”‘

Read more: 24 hours homeless: Spikes aren’t as bad as being punched, kicked or spat on

REMOVE BARBARIC SPIKES-HOMELESS HAVE RIGHT TO SHELTER -Mayor of London + Residential Property Partners: Remove the Anti-Homeless Spikes

Mayor of London + Residential Property Partners: Remove the Anti-Homeless Spikes

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A controversial and inhumane way of ‘managing’ London’s homeless population was brought to the attention of twitterers at the weekend:spikes have been placed outside a building owned by property company Property Partners, to deter people from sleeping on the property.

As a Mental health nurse in London I have all too often seen the result of isolating and mistreating our city’s homeless. We should be offering practical and emotional support to help the most vulnerable to get back on their feet. We should not be sending them the message that they are pests that need to be warded off.

London is lucky to have some of the most prolific charities working tirelessly to help vulnerable people link in with services and get the support they are in need of. As a society should we not be doing more to help these people instead of isolating them further?

We should be looking after our vulnerable population not ostracising them by moving them to places that are less intrusive to our lives, so that they are out of sight. The next time you walk past a homeless person, think about the fact that they have had lives, rich and interesting lives that were thrown into turmoil due to circumstances that are often out of their control.

For those people who are not sure if they agree with this petition I would say if it is a problem for a homeless person to stay in that area, then perhaps a more human approach could be adopted – a person telling another person to move along is more humane than installing spikes.

Humans deserve to be treated like humans regardless of their social situation.

You never know what is round the corner. Support the silent population.

To:
Property Partners and Boris Johnson
Remove the Anti-Homeless Spikes from London

Sincerely,
[Your name]

The bedroom tax discriminates against the social tenant

The bedroom tax discriminates against the social tenant by SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

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Pictures displayed by Street Democracy.

I did not emphasise the real issue when I reported on the Wirral MBC case a day or so ago choosing to seek permission directly from the Upper Tribunal to appeal against a bedroom tax case with a room measuring 36.53 square feet.  My error was in focusing on the decision taken and not what the decision meant as the REAL issue is the overt discrimination the social tenant suffers in the bedroom tax policy and this specific case highlights the general discrimination which is deserving of much more attention than the ridiculous decision Wirral MBC has taken.

In short if a private landlord had attempted to rent out the 36.53 square feet room as a bedroom then: –

  1. The private landlord would not be allowed to deem this room a bedroom, and
  2. Would not receive the higher HB towards rent – a 3 bed rather than a 2 bed HB payment
  3. Likely to be prosecuted (and knowing the facts of this case they would be)

YET because it is a social landlord the tenant gets persecuted and hit with the bedroom tax deduction and that is discriminatory and this case highlights this general discrimination in the bedroom tax policy.

The issue gives rise to further room size bedroom tax appeal arguments and potentially a judicial review of the policy itself and that is where the emphasis should have been.  It comes about for a few reasons and it is useful to compare the social rented sector (SRS) position to the private rented sector (PRS) position to the same situation of a room of less than 50 square feet being deemed a ‘bedroom’ by the landlord.

Firstly, the PRS landlord claiming a property has 3 bedrooms can and invariably has that property inspected for the validity of such a claim by the independent rent officer service.  The Rent Officer comes out to check and the last yearly figures I have reveal 219,000 yearly inspections.  YET such inspections and the opportunity for these to be conducted on social housing properties was taken away by this government in April 2013 when the bedroom tax started.

For more click here:  SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

Eviction Britain: More than half a million face having their homes repossessed

Eviction Britain: More than half a million face having their homes repossessed

‘More than half a million Britons are facing eviction from the homes they own or rent, according to a new analysis of possession claims served on households by the courts during the past year.

The scale of the crisis equates to more than 4,000 households being at risk of losing their home each week, Shelter warned today, while more than 215,000 possession claims have been served on people since April last year.

In some parts of the country the situation is so bad that one in 34 households is in danger of being repossessed, according to the charity’s analysis of county court records from England between April 2013 and March 2014.’

Read more: Eviction Britain: More than half a million face having their homes repossessed

Revealed: Why millions WON’T get the £155 new state pension they’re expecting

‘As many as four in five older workers could miss out on the full flat-rate state pension of £155 a week when it is introduced in 2016.
And millions face losing thousands of pounds in inflation-linked increases on company pensions.

The devastating blows, which throw into chaos the plans of those within two years of retirement, have been revealed in a Money Mail investigation into the small print of the new flat-rate pension.

A major pledge of the new pension was that everyone who had paid all their National Insurance contributions would be guaranteed to get £155 a week.

But we have uncovered a series of nasty surprises that are highly complex and technical. And they are likely to mean that many who expected to get the new £155 payout could get far less — and, disturbingly, not even the Government has calculated how much less.’

Read more …

A Guide To DWP Euphemisms-SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

A Guide To DWP Euphemisms-SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites) pictures displayed by Street Democracy

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‘Reintroducing fairness to the welfare system’ – introducing means-testing in order to dismantle the welfare system.

‘Fairness’ – discriminating against people.

‘Creating a system based on fairness’ – ignoring need, in favour of targets.

‘Work experience’ – unpaid labour.

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‘Fit to work’ – somebody suffering from an incapacitating condition, whose heart still beats.

‘Tough’ – punitive.

‘Tough but fair’ – punitive and arbitrary.

‘Employment Support Allowance’ – financial support for people incapable of retaining employment due to illness/disability.

‘Unconditional support’ – strictly conditional support.

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‘Scrounger’ – somebody who is poor.

‘Hardworking people’ – people on very high salaries, such as company executives.

‘Striver’ – somebody who works for a low salary, and who doesn’t object to a pay cut. Alternatively, somebody who works for a high salary, and who doesn’t object to a pay rise.

‘Skiver’ – somebody who is temporarily too ill to work…

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View original 506 more words 

Click here for: A Guide To DWP Euphemisms-SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)