Update 28 Feb: the council says that it is investigating this situation – to find out how someone living in one of its homelessness hostels came to receive such a letter.
I wrote a fortnight ago about Lukia, a woman with serious mental health difficulties who lives (if “lives” is the word) in a Newham homelessness hostel.
Lukia has previously been in the care of a mental health unit.
She is battling Newham council for permanent housing.
Lukia came home last week to find this note under her door:
The note says:
“You are request [sic] to come into the office in Victoria Street today by 3pm. Failure to do so will lead to you being removed from the homelessness list and you will be asked to leave your home.”
I post this to show you again the way that people with no clout are addressed by authorities.
Every contact is a threat.
People aren’t invited to meetings with council or hostel staff. They’re told to attend, or else.
The “or else” part can be the threat of being thrown off the homelessness list and out of a hostel room, as in this case.
It can be the threat of street homelessness and child removal. Whatever form the “or else” takes, these threats are heavy-handed, dangerous and unjustified.
It’s high time that councillors and MPs addressed this. A shortage of housing does not justify a shortage of decency and care.
Lukia, as I’ve written, has a history of serious mental health difficulties and of being placed in temporary accommodation so vile and substandard that she’s been moved out of it.
She feels that permanent accommodation is her only chance at the stability that might lead to an improvement in her health.
Threats of homelessness hardly help people achieve that.