Thursday, 19 March 2009

Letter I've written to the council

Doesn't matter what you think of the letter, I've yet to write one that alters our situation. I've flagged my questions up in bold print.

18th March

Dear Housing Chief,
Thank you for dealing with my request dated January 28th. I received a response two weeks ago, on the 4th March, from your Acting Assistant Director (needs and access). I respond to you as you are already quite familiar with my case and I feel you may be in the best position to help me. I enclose the AAD's letter incase you haven't seen it.

Firstly, I am provided with temporary accommodation on behalf of Camden Council, not Pathmeads as stated by AAD. As you know the lease agreements between the Council and the Housing Association will not be renewed next year because, I am told, they are "too expensive".

It is not Pathmeads' responsibility to fix the lift in my block as AAD knows and Pathmeads confirmed to me. I and other residents call the council whenever it breaks down so it is well aware of the problem. None the less, my flat is temporary and because of my bicycle, I have to consider it and my son when bidding and I ask the council to take this into consideration, as one of my 'needs'.

Regarding Oseney Crescent, I still do not know why I went from being 5th on the list to 128th. Why in recent years have I slipped down the list?

Three years ago the Council did not withdraw the property. This is why I could see I was under consideration for it. My own enquiries led me to the understanding it was being repaired. There was no apology then. There was this time.

This time the Council chose to "make an urgent and unexpected offer to a housing applicant". Direct lets are made in "exceptional" circumstances. Could the Council define what it means by "exceptional"?

I ask because I am currently doing training with a young mother on the transfer list, who has fewer points than me. She is viewing two bedroom properties with her social worker and I am pleased for her. However my needs and my son's needs are no different to hers. I do not have a social worker but I do have a mental health support worker. My Council support worker says my flat is a "health and safety issue". I clearly need a bigger space, my son a space of his own.

My son and I are in insecure accommodation, our future is insecure. This has had a detrimental effect on my mental health which in turn impacts my child. Why can't we be seen as "exceptional"?

Also, could you tell me how many properties are set aside for "direct lets"?

As you know I do not wish to accept the Council's Private Rental Scheme as I outlined my reasons in my last letter. When the council reduced my points in 2005, it defended its actions. My points were reduced, not increased and whatever the legalities of those decisions, it doesn't mean those actions were right for me or my son.

The "prevention points" under the PRS will merely replace my "homeless points", will not be added on to them. My points may stay the same, may even reduce again. I will not be allowed to bid for six months and then I can resume bidding. I'm no longer "homeless" but my life has not changed.

Furthermore I either move my son again in order to go through this process or he continues to sleep in my bed. Why does the Council insist I do this to him? What does the Council think this is all doing to him? These are not rhetorical questions Chief. I do want and need to understand.

The Camden/Pathmeads lease arrangement collapses in August 2010, in 17 months time. I'd like the Council to pay attention to us now. I've been through all this before. It's mentally and emotionally crushing.

Once again I ask for your help Chief for my HHSS worker is not able to, not because he's ineffectual, just because he can't.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Sue De Nim

cc AAD

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