Homeless and being tortured by your council? Great, isn’t it.

Today’s post is an update on N, a homeless disabled woman with an abusive ex partner and 2 little kids. I’ve been writing about N’s situation for most of this year – key takeaway being that I’ll need to write a lot more if we’re measuring success by the speed with which N’s council has pulled finger to help her.

N and her family have been stuck living in a single room in a London homelessness hostel for 3 years – beds, living area and things, belongings, and N and her kids all crammed into one room. You can imagine how agreeable these living arrangements are. Even if you really like your kids, you would probably decline an offer to spend eternity caged in one room with them.

Compounding N’s undesirable setup, though, is her council’s odd taste for mental torture. N was placed in the hostel by her council 3 years ago, because she was homeless. They should have at least moved her to a temporary place with an extra room or 2 a few months after that, but she is still in the hostel.

That means it has been years now – day in and day out, living in that room, with nothing ever changing. To be fair, the council did break up the monotony late last year when they sent the then-pregnant N a letter to tell her they were going to chuck her onto the streets – ie evict her, etc. We can probably agree that that bit wasn’t boring. The council was going to evict N, because she had balked at accepting a temporary housing offer. She did that because the place the council showed her wasn’t secure enough to keep an aggressive and pissed-off ex-partner out. The council said they’d evict her for turning the place down. Long story short: after a torrent of pointed activist emails cc’d to the mayor, the council decided to park the eviction idea and leave N and her kids (including newborn) in the hostel for the time being.

Which brings us to the rest of 2022.

We haven’t heard much about eviction since February, possibly because the council seems to be pursuing a new strategy – namely, raising N’s hopes, then crushing them. She is told a place is available, then never hears about it again. She is told that she’ll be housed somewhere better soon, but isn’t. This has been going on for absolute months. Dogs are rehomed faster. I always knew that single mothers who’d been abused were a long way down the queue for sympathy, but I didn’t realise that they were actually last in the line, or even on a waiting list for it. I suppose it all comes down to the world still believing that even when they’re the ones who are taking the abuse, women still somehow ask for it and certainly ought to pay for it.

Which is not to say there haven’t been special moments this year. The council’s most recent effort was to call N and tell her that some rogue independent medical assessor had decided that N, who can’t walk without aids, could climb 2 flights of stairs to a 2nd floor flat if a 2nd floor flat became available. (By merry coincidence, this assessor turned out to be one of a number that have threatened me with legal action over the years. Small worlds, in more ways than one). This assessor had never met with N, so it was hard to know which research method they’d used to arrive at their spectacular conclusion – probably the one where you stand outside and stick a wet digit in the air. After another pointed email cc’d to the mayor, the council, who’d previously agreed that N couldn’t walk up stairs, agreed that N couldn’t walk up stairs and ditched the assessor’s report. No waste of time or money there.

N is, of course, still in the hostel. We spoke on Friday – a whatsapp meeting during which N cried and talked about giving up while another activist and I sat there listening to N’s mental health collapse in real time. The council really needs to house this woman asap, you know. I say this because I really do mean it. Time to get cracking, council. Let’s move.

36 thoughts on “Homeless and being tortured by your council? Great, isn’t it.

  1. Incompetence and bureaucracy combined with a housing shortage and a liberal dose of negligence must be to blame, I would think. After all, it sounds like the system failures of a poor Eastern bloc country like Romania. How can people be treated like this in 21st century Britain?

  2. I’ve said this before: I shy away from this because I’m alright now, and I don’t want to deal with it. But I keep the link as unread so that I am reminded that this is how so many many are living now in our increasingly Right wing first world you beaut country.

    It is beyond my comprehension how anyone, -anyone, with an atom of conscience can look the other way, or even this way, and say ‘she brought it on herself’. As they do. I have been a single parent for 58 years. When what happened to me happened, I was able to get a Single Mothers Allowance. But more than that, the role of being alone to look after child/children was respected!
    Unbelievably (for today), if a Mother wanted to be a home Mother, she could. That was what SMA was about. Providing a stable home for the kids.
    Tbh, I found those years to be stultifying, so enrolled at the local college and did a course. Even back then, I wanted to show people how to stretch a buck; the course was a Home and Family Diet type thing. I learned how to do precisely that: stretch a buck. (The kids btw, wandered the college, though they were meant to stay in the library. No creches then).

    Yet again Kate you made me laugh with your cynical take on this; and yet again it was followed by the icy shower of reality. The horror of this is that you are effectively watching a slow murder by system. God how I hate them.

    There is only one small glimmer of light: I notice now that because everyone outside of the Conservative/Truss protected shitty little fatcats; -there is a growing collective anger, because ‘now I’M having a difficult time’. Even my conservative friends are unhappy and angry at Truss-because they are now starting to struggle.
    I hope this baptism of fire increases. Let this political pied piper continue her savagery, and take those scum over the political edge. But whilst they hopefully self destruct, people like N may not make it as a result. I despair for that poor kid, and others like her.
    I am really so very sorry.

    • My hope really is that something better rises from this. It’s obvious that we’re at the end of the free market path here. There’s no point trying to sell their precious “work hard and you’ll make it” line anymore – as you say, more and more people are finding things harder and harder, so they know they’re hearing bullshit. Truss has Irrelevance written all over her in the sense that she’s selling a line and pushing a philosophy that has gone.

        • Great to know that J Hunt is now chancellor and speaking of public sector cuts already. That man is an actual bollock. In fact – actual bollocks would have more depth. At least they’re 3-dimensional. Anyway, with Hunt doing the maths, the sky is surely the limit re: the Tories’ reputation for sound economic management.

          • Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer. I feel like I’m living in a parallel universe. A new era of Austerity, as though the existing era had finished.

  3. I ended up moving 365 miles away from everything, and everyone, I knew, after having my daughter.

    This was just after the big council house sell-off, by Thatcher, and my local council told me that there was a 10 year waiting list for a house or even a small flat, in my town.

    Two years previous to this, when I’d put my name down on my town’s Council Waiting list, I’d been told it was only a matter of contacting them, when I needed a home!

    Thatcher’s scheme put paid to that, and every single government, since, have made it worse by not building the homes we need!

    We were fortunate that, although we were both unemployed just then, my husband had contacts in Wales, that we used to rent a flat, from a family friend.

    My husband also found work with them at the same time.

    But the price of this, was that I had to leave everything I knew, with a new baby, and go to live in the middle of nowhere, leaving everything else that I’d loved behind. It took me many years to adjust .

    But at least I wasn’t a single mum, with more than the one child, having to cope with a disability, and living in a cramped room for years!

    I will always blame Thatcher, and the Tories, for what they keep putting people through, all for the sake of their own greed and expediency!

    I so hope that N and her children get the home that they so desperately need, and deserve, as soon as possible ❤️

  4. Thatcher’s right to buy your council house set it off in lack of social housing. Nowadays council estates have less than 40% that are social housing, having been bought & sold multiple times. Where I was in Swiss Cottage a 2 bedroom flat is now going for £350,000 & a 3 bedroom flat is over £500,000. Being so near to central London the prices have shot up. The council housing vulnerable people in B&B’s & hotels at £300 a week costing the council stupid money. The Council’s do not have the obligation or care of duty to even put people in B&B’s or hotels or hostels because it is costing too much.

    Greetings once again Kate & Trev
    Reasoning Time Once Again !!

      • Yes trev, still around a sunk ship. 80% of the nation relying on Universal Credit & are just waking up to what it really is, 12 years too late. Why isn’t something being done? The rookies say. So predictable!! I am still not used to central heating & I don’t like it. I never use my oven anyway, so that stands me in good steed for the energy crisis. The younger ones who can’t live without central heating & the internet are in big trouble.

        • I don’t have any central heating, in fact not much in the way of heating at all in this flat, just a plug-in electric heater in the living room and that’s it! And an old coin meter for the electricity that takes the old pound coins. I am struggling with the cost of living though, my legacy JSA goes nowhere and is a inadequate amount to live on for rising food prices. If they cut benefits again there ought to be riots.

          • Going to street markets just as they are closing you can get the fruit & veg a lot lot cheaper, more than half price. Also the amount they chuck away in the morning because it is slightly not right for selling. Once the supermarkets shut down because of no electric will cause a revolution. I have my hot water bottle & have spent past winters [decades ago] with no heating & just a hot water bottle.

  5. All the Government’s Departments have taken the tactics of the DWP, blame game, scapegoating, put the disabled into more suffering & poverty, label the poor as scroungers, contradict everything, the list goes on. If it works at the DWP it works in every other Government Department.

    The cost of Welfare Reform aka Universal Credit was meant to cost £12bn it is well past £100bn which is another black hole in the the budgets & they still not completed the roll over & die policy.

    It has been all so predictable in the failures.

    Universal Credit’s success is in it’s failure. If everything in life was like that !!
    Universal Credit was designed to create zero unemployment because you have to work for your benefit, which makes you an employment figure. Magic, no unemployed.

  6. “Renting in London: ‘It wasn’t OK to go through all this just to find an apartment’

    ” Competition for properties in London has been driving up the cost of renting in the capital.

    Figures from Rightmove show that demand on the site for new rental homes has risen by 14% in London over the past year, while the number of properties available has dropped by 35%.”


  7. It’s this bad: I sat here for a bit with the cursor flicking, wondering what the hell to put up! So bloody many of us-you; more and more and more, are waiting for the next beating. It’s an utter nightmare!
    It is surely hours, maybe days before Thatcher Truss is gone; yet she only just arrived. Our new chancellor looks like some kind of rescuer, when he’s anything but. Undoing anything which could have remotely helped those struggling, whilst ensuring the wealthy are not affected; -are even rewarded. I doubt it will happen, but these worthless scum are even looking at that twat Johnson as a possible solution FFS!
    They are on a rollercoaster that has lost a wheel. The rest of us at the back are being swung back and forth as these bastards attempt to quell the fire by pouring petrol on it.

    ‘Opposition'(don’t you love that: oppositon), are pseudo conservatives. The only forlorn hope is that when they get back in, -(and currently they cannot fail to do so. At the moment a drovers dog could achieve power)- they will initially want to show a more moderate stance; and ‘Labour’ values, and -initially- it might be a little better.

    (When I got 10 posts on the trot in my inbox, I thought that N.. I was worried).

    Last year? I watched ‘Victorian Slum’. They were blamed for their own situation.
    We should look on the bright side. The wealthy would visit as ‘tourists’ to see how these people lived! (It was nice to see one participant family in particular refusing to take part in allowing them to enter their room).
    Is that what will ultimately happen? Maybe making a few pennies to allow privileged scum to see what THEY are responsible for; by letting them ogle you?

    We need a revolution. I mean it.

    • Further Austerity is being forecast, even worse than last time, and worse than 1976 according to the Telegraph. It must be bad if a normally pro-Tory paper is saying so, and one in which Truss is described as a “zombie PM”. They’re tipping Penny Mordaunt as her replacement, and I’m tipping that Truss will either leave Politics or go back to flogging pork and cheese. Meanwhile, both State Pension and other Benefits will be cut, and people will starve/freeze.

      • Can’t imagine what Truss would do after this. Even the pork and cheese thing seems beyond her. She’s just some odd empty shell. Maybe she could spend the rest of her life as a Pringles container.

        • There is a big campaign in Norfolk where I am to stop 50m pylons being put up across the county. Before Liz Truss became PM she said she opposed the pylons & would be campaigning to have them stopped, being a South West Norfolk MP. Since then nothing from Liz & her South West Norfolk voters are getting very angry & will not be voting for her, so she loses her South West Norfolk seat.

          Liz Truss next job will be a scarecrow on a pylon like a parrot in a parrot tree.

        • She couldn’t even make a living by hosting Tupperware parties. When she eventually appeared in the HoC sat next to Coffey in silence she looked to me like they’d slipped her a Mickey, she looks like I did after 2 years on Sertraline. She was totally unphazed and spaced out with a look of false serenity that can only come from medication.

  8. The people not at the bottom have convinced themselves that it is not going to be as bad as been made out to be. Yes it is going to be that bad & getting worse. Why should we give up out Skybox subscriptions, why should we give up out new Poxy Pro 7 phone at £1,400. Well no one cares what you think. The reality has not yet sunk in to these people that expect to be treated fairly. Then there’s the rich people who non stop moan about poorer people being not fit for purpose.

    When the supermarkets close down because of no electric, people will start looting the supermarkets. After that they will starting looting rich people like where does David Cameron live. The rich people should be afraid because they will be next on the list to loot. So how are people going to live then Tories !!!

  9. The Home secretary Suella Braverman has just resigned, one of many that will also resign later today. Grant ‘Shitty’ Shapps is now the new Home secretary until Friday 21st Oct 2022.

    • It seems they are all going for World Records of least amount of time in office. The Prime Minister, The Home Secretary, The Chancellor all trying to beat the previous records !!!

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