A response to Cllr Richard Livingstone

Following a popular HASL blog post on regeneration practices in Southwark, Richard Livingston, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for housing, got in touch stating he was happy to look into the case.

Hence we ask him:

1) To ensure the council uses its discretion to provide D and her family with temporary accommodation immediately in Southwark during the period in which the decision regarding her homelessness application is being reviewed. The review has been filed today (Thursday 2 Oct) and details will be sent via email to Livingstone. We also request that Livingstone ensures that the council make sure that D is quickly housed in secure, affordable, local social housing after being stuck in temporary accommodation for 9 years; D has serious medical problems and two young children.

2) To investigate high rents being charged to homeless people in Southwark owned temporary accommodation on a decanted housing estate (Aylesbury) where residents were living on a building site.

3) To investigate whether temporary tenants and precariously housed tenants (such as ASTs) in decanted housing are being made homeless following eviction or if they receive genuinely affordable housing in the borough after being moved on, i.e. is Southwark actually “keeping people in their homes?”

4) To investigate the culture of gatekeeping and intimidation in benefit and housing offices in Southwark. D’s is not the only case. We can report, from our experience, the systematic practice of preventing access to services, benefits and housing in Southwark to those entitled. We suspect the cause lay in both the scarcity of these resources, aided in no small part by Southwark Council, the working conditions of staff in Southwark offices and a working practice encouraged by management.

We would like a response on the first point by the end of the week. On points 2, 3 and 4 we are happy to negotiate a deadline for response.

Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth

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