The challenges and opportunities facing Homes for Londoners

city-hall-att2_(660x440)_(2)Yesterday marked the inaugural meeting of the Board of Homes for Londoners – the Mayor of London’s body to oversee housing policy, strategy and delivery.  Chaired by Mayor himself, Homes for Londoners is the fulfilment of one of Sadiq Khan’s key election campaign pledges.

At this stage, however, it is not clear whether it will be any different at all from Boris Johnson’s original Homes for London Board that performed the same role in his second term.  Indeed, while there are obviously new faces, the Board’s structure remains the same with appointees from London Councils, the property sector and big housing associations.  At this stage, neither social tenants nor the Capital’s homeless households are directly represented.  The Mayor should co-opt both a tenants’ rep and someone from a homelessness charity onto the Board before it meets next. Continue reading

Case study: preventing an eviction

landlord-eviction-rightsJack and his mother were referred to Z2K from their local MP as they were due to be evicted from their home. Jack had succeed to the property when his father died.  However, he was very young at the time and lacked the ability to deal with financial issues. Jack also had health problems.

Jack had lived in the property with his father since 2000. He officially succeeded to the tenancy in July 2008. However, arrears had accrued on the rent account since his father passed away in December 2007. The housing association believed he was liable on the basis of in use and occupation charges. Continue reading

Out of borough placements – learning the lessons of Nzolameso

Rachael came to Z2K after having made a successful homeless application. She was offered temporary accommodation in the outer edges of West London; an hour and a half’s journey from her friends, family and crucially her children’s school in East London. She knew that this accommodation was not suitable and would cause a huge disruption to her children’s education, however she accepted the offer for fear of the council discharging their duty to house her family. She moved in and, following our advice, asked for a formal review of the decision to offer her this out of borough accommodation. Continue reading

Housing survivors of torture: is enough being done?

imagesHailu is a refugee who experienced horrible treatment at the hands of authorities in his country before coming to the UK. He now suffers from significant mental health problems including PTSD and depression. Hailu hears voices and is unable to concentrate for long periods of time. His English language skills are very low, hardly enough to get by. Hailu was in the NASS support system (National Asylum Support Services) and was moved about a few times. As a result he did not manage to stay long enough in one borough to get a local connection for the purposes of housing. Continue reading

Advice for Daniel Blake

i-daniel-blake-1200x600-c-defaultSPOILER ALERT: this post refers to the plot of the film frequently, including the ending.

This article was originally published in and edited form in the Guardian

Ken Loach’s brilliant new film, I, Daniel Blake, was released in UK in October. The Z2K team went see it together last week, and like many others, were deeply moved by the way that it portrays the day-to-day reality of poverty and trying to access welfare benefits.

The purpose of this post is to show the kind of advice that Z2K would give to someone facing the situations of the two main characters in the film – Daniel and Katie. Both characters are typical of the kind of clients that Z2K assists with welfare benefits and housing issues. Continue reading