Get to the office or we’ll make you homeless: what’s the outcome of the council investigation into this threat?

Last week, I posted a pic of this threatening letter that had been received by Lukia, a resident of a Newham homelessness hostel:

Lukia has a history of depression and serious mental health problems.

She’s been living in a room in the homelessness hostel for more than a year.

Lukia has a history of serious mental health issues.

As I said in last week’s post, Lukia found this note very upsetting and threatening, as well she might.

The note says that if she doesn’t attend a meeting that day, she’ll be thrown off the council homelessness list and evicted from her hostel room.

In an email last week, councillors said they and the mayor were horrified by the note and would investigate.

Apparently, the mayor repeated that concern at a council meeting last night.

That was all very well, but I want to know the outcome of that investigation. It’s been over a week.

How many people have received such letters?

Why is it that councils (and other so-called service providers such as the DWP, just btw) allow such contempt for people who are most in need to flourish?

25 thoughts on “Get to the office or we’ll make you homeless: what’s the outcome of the council investigation into this threat?

  1. It’s all part and parcel of a culture that wants to cast poor people are somehow less than human, less than deserving of compassion and humane treatment or respect. Perhaps we need to start doing something along the lines of what Operation Libero are doing in Switzerland:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/15/switzerland-laboratory-far-right-politics

    In the article no bones are made about it being a hard slog, but I think they certainly have something, especially when referring everything back to a sense of national values, more or less holding a mirror up to society and getting people to see what an ugly society was appearing. I think that if people were reminded that prisoners are treated better it might strike a chord, as though many think prisoners are on a cushy number, most would agree that starving them would be a step too far, so why are poor, sick, unemployed and disabled people being treated worse?

    A friend and me are thinking of trying this kind of approach, though perhaps the one thing we lack that Switzerland has: a functioning democracy. But still, if we could just move things a little way and create an awareness of cognitive dissonance that exists in people’s minds we will have achieved something.

    • Cheers for that Padi. I’ll have a look through that article today.

      There was a video going around last week of rail workers throwing water over a homeless man. People were shocked but to me, that was just another example of the institutional/organisational contempt that flourishes when government in particular gives that contempt the go-ahead.

      • Yes, I think that it is crucial that for these kinds of situations to develop that they are receiving some perceived form of official encouragement – Trump is a prime example of this.. Though most of us are familiar with the notional defence of ‘I was just acting under orders’ it’s still the case that many of us still take our prompts from ‘authority’. Indeed, we’re programmed to do it, so it is often quite difficult to go against what we’re told to do by people in positions of power. The Milgram experiment was certainly a shocker to me, and though some have claimed that the experiment itself was unethical, I don’t think any other method could have discovered the propensity for people to do bad things if they are to to do it and it is sanctioned, and though no-one was actually being hurt by those taking part in the experiment, the volunteers were under the impression that they were, and seemed willing to turn up the voltage… Analagous to referring someone for a sanction. (and of course there was the notorious Stanford prison experiment that had to be rapidly closed down, as well as the BBC’s ‘The Experiment’ which also had to be terminated before completion.)

        What makes going against the grain even more difficult of course is the sense of isolation, that if you don’t as a worker, conform, you will be singled out. Of course, we see this increasingly with the DWP, but what gets to me is that they have a union, the PCS that all the while is hiding behind Thatcher era anti-union legislation as an excuse to do nothing to counter these what can only be called human rights abuses. If the union provided a lead, and defended staff properly, as they have a moral if not legal duty to do, after all, human rights are supposed to be sacrosanct, and no-one can claim a Nuremburg defence if they know what they are doing is wrong, then we’d see the whole sanctions regime collapse very quickly. Though individual advisors in JCP offices may not be delivering the actual sanction, they are aiming and pulling the trigger in the full knowledge that if the bullet hits, it could very easily totally devastate someone’s life. It’s very much a scenario where evil is triumphing because good people are doing nothing.

  2. I think you might be optimistic to expect this matter to have received any attention at all in the space of a week. The way bureaucracy operates it’ll probably be buried in someone’s in-tray in the hope of it being forgotten, then it’ll get lost. It’s fine for them to lay punitive unrealistic deadlines on people at short notice but it’s a different story when the situation is reversed.

  3. I don’t think this is from the council. Apart from the grammatical error, it says “Dear Tenant,” rather than a name. As others have pointed out, it should be on official headed paper, and have the council’s and Lukia’s address on it. It should also be signed and have been posted rather than shoved under the door. Kate, I know you’ve had problems with them in the past, but even Newham Council aren’t this unprofessional are they?

    I think it’s probably from a despicable neighbour, but I can imagine the distress this would cause someone. Best wishes to Lukia.

    • Absolutely right Martin. Why is it not on headed paper ? This looks suspicious to me. It might not even be official at all. I used to work for a local council for many years, and I can tell you that nothing, and I mean nothing, goes out unless on the official headed paper.

  4. Rudd calling Diane Abbott a “coloured woman”, Bradley saying murders committed by Police/Military in Northern Ireland were not crimes, then there’s Labour Party member Tony Blair publicly expressing support for The Independent Group Ltd. WTF is going on? What a complete shower of shit. Meanwhile, at my local foodbank stocks are dwindling due to a 40% increase in clients, and 2000 people in my area alone have had their Benefits Sanctioned, whilst thousands more are still waiting for their Universal Credit to be paid, but does anyone even care? People are starving and facing eviction whilst we are governed and ruled by self-serving dickheads. Oh, and apparently there “might” be a connection between Austerity and rising crime…what the fuck do they expect? 😠

    • You are right Trev. There are some people who need a serious dealing to. Blair and Rudd are certainly on my list.

      • Sometimes I get so pissed off with it all. It goes beyond party politics, nothing makes sense anymore. We’re lorded over by an overarching hierarchy of incompetent and increasingly irrelevant and vastly overpaid nincompoops and shitheads, and I for one am sick to death of these clowns controlling my life.

    • Absolutely Trev. I remember going to a council run event about housing in the 90s and being rendered speechless when Alun Michael (who went on to be First Minister in the Welsh Assembly after they’d got rid of Ron Davies) making a connection between unemployment and rising crime – wowfuckingwee!

      It was firmly established in the 1850s that there was a correlation between unemployment/poverty as after 1856 and the economy started to pick up there was a huge reduction in things like theft, (though levels of drunkeness seem not to have been affected) as people no longer needed to steal in order to keep body and soul together.

      • Yeah, and this lot have taken the world described by Dickens as their inspiration and turned us right back to the 1800s.

      • Bloody hell, it’s getting worse around here, just popped out to go to corner shop and witnessed a big scrap going on in the street in broad daylight. About 15 – 20 Asians knocking shit out of each other, some young lads maybe 15/16, some older ones with beards in their 40s/50s. Cops are on their way…

  5. I initially thought like Martin that this absurd letter has to be some kind of malicious hoax, for all of reasons already stated.
    However, if Lukia did turn up to the meeting, and there was no record of any such meeting scheduled for her by the council, then it’s obviously a nasty-minded hoax which has nothing to do with the council whatever their other faults may be (considerable by the sounds of it.)
    But if the meeting arranged for Lukia actually existed at the time and place stated in the ‘weirdo’ letter then that beggars various questions. Is this kind of letter actually endorsed by the council? I suspect not, in which case what happened to the legitimate letter, and how was that worded? There must be a record of it somewhere, probably in Lukia’s case file.
    The very fact that this complaint has been raised twice in a week within the council leads me to suspect that there was a meeting and this was not the original letter. If so, what happened to it?
    Was it intercepted by someone outside the council; perhaps in the hostel itself by some creep with a grudge against Lukia? Or did some malicious minded council employee intercept it and decided to substitute their hand-delivered version of it instead?
    If the former then there’s really not a lot the council can do, other than to see to it that Lukia receives any future council letters by recorded delivery say. If the latter then that’s very scary indeed. This indicates that such a poisonous culture has taken hold of this council, or the departments that deal with Lukia, that some twisted individual believes they can do such things and get away with it. Like I said, very scary.

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