The main issues I came across when talking with the diverse range of residents had nothing to do with the actual accommodation, but with the problems regarding housing and the council.
One woman, who had been at the same safe house for a year, said that she “Can’t fault the staff here, but the council have unrealistic expectations of how we are going to move on.”
All of these women (it’s an all female house) have responsibilities as a parent, bar a few. And so the fact that they don’t receive assistance with ‘moving on’ from the refugee seems ridiculous to me.
We get given food, a bed, there is even a closet full of clothes that have been donated. These clothes aren’t just rags that other people didn’t need either – they are good quality, just like the reliable household appliances.
If I were to donate to the place in the future, which I plan to, I would try to assist with communication from the refuge to the council….because, well, it’s a charity and so the powers that the owner has is limited!
He/she can’t work miracles – but surely, after a few letters and phone calls, the refugee can have housing exceptions in regards to those suffering domestic violence?
Another resident went on to say that “the council expect us to get a private property, but we can’t unless we have a link to someone in the area. And of course, this is impossible, as we have all been taken to another city to avoid further abuse. The second problem is that we can’t sign onto the housing system here, on benefits, until we have been here for at least five years.”
It seems to me that the refugee has the right idea – as there was nothing like this in the city I grew up in, but it also has an Achilles foot. People have their hopes raised by being housed, but then they end up in a predicament that is arguably worse than their original situation.
Those fleeing domestic violence need security, as it’s difficult even with the best accommodation to inspire a person to be independent and self-confident.
I plan to write my support worker a letter before I leave, about potentially speaking to the head of the local council about the issues raised and a personal problem of mine…
My issue is that I would not be eligible for either a council property (due to the five year rule and the contact rule), or a private place – as I don’t get help with a bond.
This makes my blood boil, as parents get assistance with a bond in most cities – not all, but most. This is another example that the government, regardless as to much they complain about benefit scroungers and single mothers, leave some women in a position to do nothing other than start a family.
I am in the process of switching from benefits to my student loan, and I have the risk of two weeks homelessness in-between because their is no assistance for those waiting to start a course! Most people in the right mind would want to avoid this fear like a plague, and so I will bring up a ‘transitional payment’ idea to the job-center when I attend for those waiting for a loan.
If you have anything you would like to add, please feel free to comment.
Signed, the truth about journalism.
(Bond – a months payment upfront for the landlord of a private property.)
(Job-center – a place where English people go to claim benefits.)
© Stevie Martin and The Truth about Journalism, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stevie Martin and The Truth about Journalism with appropriate and specific direction to the original content