Thursday, 1 October 2009

Yet another item on gatekeeping

I'm sorry to the millions of readers (well all three of you who follow this blog), but its another gatekeeping story thats caught my eye.

This is an article from the Coventry Telegraph regarding the amount of homelessness applicants that have a duty accepted to them under Part VII. According to the article it identifies how Coventry Council is failing its statutory duty to accommodate under Sec 188 whilst it investigates homelessness applications and is blatantly gatekeeping.

I quote from the article "Mr Fowler (chief executive of Coventry Cyrenians) said he knew of instances were single people identified as vulnerable had been referred to the council for an emergency bed overnight, only to be given an appointment a week later, then face testing and form-filling."

The article paints a bleak picture of the whole homelessness service in Coventry.

I am concerned that in the article it states:

"The council has a legal responsibility to house people made “unintentionally homeless and in priority need”.

But it says it can take up to 33 days to assess whether the legal duty applies in each case."
It would appear to my jaded eye that what the council is really saying is that we won't accommodate during the 33 days, which of course is totally illegal!

I wonder if there are any readers in the Coventry area that would like to comment on their experience of the homelessness service there?


Humphrey said...

The Coventry Cyrenians used to accommodate people on a nightly basis using amongst other resources cheap local B&Bs (2 to a room etc). I've heard from a local hostel that they've had their funding slashed and can do no more now than signpost the homeless to other services/ providers.

Nearly Legal said...

Completely unlawful behaviour, if true. The trouble with addressing this via JR is that it can only be done on a case by case basis and the Council will, unless it is remarkably dim, pick them off by accommodating them. If enough JRs are brought, the Council may change its behaviour just because the legal costs are getting too high.

However, it may be that a complaint to the Ombudsman on behalf of a number of affected individuals - brought or supported by the Cyrenians perhaps - might have more effect long term, but slow and not much use to those in immediate need.

Nearly Legal said...

Just to say I've added your feed to the NL newsfeeds page and the housing feeds yahoo pipe - I meant to before, but you went a bit quiet for a bit. Quality posting, by the way.