Camden council, don’t force a homeless family into the private rented sector

Don’t let Camden council get away with this, tweet them your views @camdentalking

We’re very concerned about Camden council’s treatment of our member and her daughter. Today (2nd November) they were sent a letter informing them that their homeless duty is being ended because the council have found them a private rented tenancy. They must view this property tomorrow afternoon.

Firstly, we know that private rented accommodation is the biggest cause of homelessness, therefore it is unsuitable accommodation for homeless families to be housed in. They should be allowed to wait until they can access the secure council housing they need.

Secondly, Camden council have given only one days notice of this viewing (it is not clear whether they must move in tomorrow as well), when the family have work and school commitments. The family are Spanish speakers, but the letter was written in English, so they have not been able to fully understand the important information in the letter which warns them that the council is ending its duty. It is only through the help of HASL that they have understood the main message of the letter.

Private rented accommodation is highly unsuitable for the family who have experienced homelessness a number of times in the lives already. For a year Camden council housed them in hostel accommodation with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. The family desperately need secure, quality council housing so that they can get on with their lives without the threat of homelessness and deeper poverty that the private rented sector causes.

The council also inform then that they will no longer be on the council’s waiting list for social housing and that if they re-apply, it is likely they will not qualify to join this list.

We are calling on Camden council to allow the family to remain in their current temporary accommodation which the family are satisfied with and to continue bidding for council housing. We believe no one should be forced into private rented accommodation and we are disappointed that Camden council are using their new powers in the Localism Act to do this.

In HASL, many of our members are homeless or faced with homelessness and we have been paying close attention to local councils and how they are using their new powers in the Localism Act which enable them to force homeless families into private rented accommodation. You can read more about the situation and your rights here. We’ll be taking action together to resist councils forcing us into insecure, unsuitable, expensive private rented accommodation. Everyone needs and deserves quality, secure council housing – homeless households and others in housing need desperately need this and councils should be doing everything they can to guarantee them this. Get involved in your local housing action group to make this happen.

We are hugely disappointed that Camden council is not supporting their homeless residents by ensuring they get the council housing they need. Instead they are forcing vulnerable people into unsuitable housing whilst cutting back the social housing waiting list at the same time.

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