Monday, August 17, 2009

Declan barred from the Dellow Centre

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Haringey Council making it as difficult as possible for us to get the benefits we are entitled to and already the Dellow Day Centre of Providence Row Charity run by the Sisters of Mercy is showing us the door! Declan was barred from the centre this morning (he has access in the afternoon for a cup of coffee!) and I will be too as soon as the DWP decides to lift the suspension on my Jobseeker’s Allowance (see previous blog dated 6 August “The Department for Work and Pensions is putting us back to the street”). It means Declan has now lost his breakfast and I have lost my lunch, since the cheese sandwich that the nuns give Declan with his cereal and three toast has been my lunch for many, many months.

Their website states: “With help from our supporters we continue to expand the range of services we have on offer at the Dellow Centre, enabling people to permanently break the cycles of homelessness and poverty” - that bit mustn’t apply to us, though. The reception manager didn’t agree with me either that a three-month lease subject to month’s notice at any time constitutes vulnerable accommodation. The Duke of Norfolk, the Patron of Providence Row, states in their Annual Report 2007-2008 that “the staff and volunteers at Providence Row follow their mission to help anyone who comes to them retain their dignity and health, and explore options for their future.” And just a bit below, one can read: “Helping clients find housing and accommodation remains a number one priority for us.” Well, I am puzzled.

Anyway, only last night I uploaded to the NAC website a new section in “What we do” called “Question the war on terror”; we feature on our homepage "Questioning the War on Terror" by Dr. Kevin Barrett, now the flagship of the site. Below is a video by award journalist John Pilger, which features in this new section. And below the video is a letter that Declan sent this afternoon to the CEO of Broadway Homelessness and Support, Howard Sinclair. Declan is once again copying the email to Superintendent Lorraine Cussen (see blog of 12 July “Police threaten us with physical force at the place we sleep, Salters”). In fact, as I said in the previous blog, Declan has an email from Superintendent Cussen, stating: “Thank you for taking the time to copy me into your current situation. I hope that Broadway have been able to assist you.”

"Breaking The Silence - Truth and Lies in the War on Terror" by John Pilger. Award-winning journalist John Pilger dissects the truth and lies in the "war on terror". Pilger investigates the discrepancies between American and British claims for the "war on terror" and the facts on the ground as he finds them in Afghanistan and Washington, DC. A Special Report (pdf) by John Pilger can be read at Bullfrog Films website.

And Declan’s email this afternoon to Sinclair:

Subject: Broadway assistance in claiming Jobseeker's Allowance

Dear Mr. Sinclair,

Previous correspondence refers. I reattach copy of my email of 14 May 2009 to the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, in his capacity as Archbishop of the Diocese of Westminster, to which belongs the Dellow Day Centre of Providence Row Charity run by the Sisters of Mercy. Paragraph 3(2) states as follows:

18 June 2008: I was robbed in the canteen of the Dellow Centre of all my and my wife's money and documents (crime reference no. 4215697/08); 24 June: I was informed at Bow Street police station that the case had been struck out due to the police being unable to obtain any CCTV footage whatsoever from Providence Row Charity.

With regard to the reinstatement of my joint claim for Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) - which originally ran from July 2005 until it was terminated on 27 September 2006 because I did not "sign on" two days before I was due to so on 29 September - Broadway Homelessness and Support gathered on 31 July 2009 more specific details from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about my benefits claim of 17 July. I was informed by Broadway City Outreach team that although my part of the claim had been processed (and subsequently paid), my wife's part of the claim is currently suspended because the DWP has lost her National Insurance Number (NINO) and, as a consequence, she needs to be issued with a new NINO before her part of the claim can be paid.

As first stated in my email to you of 6 August, I am in receipt of a letter of 4 August from Haringey Council advising that the Council cannot process my claim for Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit until they have more information to work out my benefit. I must (i) tell them my partner's National Insurance Number and provide proof that it belongs to her/him, for example, a letter or form issued by the DWP or HM Revenue and Customs, and (ii) provide current proof of my partner's Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based)/(Contribution Based) in the form of a recent letter from the DWP showing my current address or a recent bank statement showing the most up to date payment being paid directly into their account. I have also pointed out in a number of emails to you that the Council states that I must give all this information to them within one month of the date of same letter, or my claim for housing benefit (to be treated as made on 17 July) will not be paid and I will have to reapply.

As you are aware, it has been my understanding since 4 August that (a) Broadway Homelessness and Support expect to receive the letter of invitation from the DWP for the NINO allocation appointment ASAP, given my wife's original NINO has been "lost" by the Department, and (b) Broadway City Outreach team has been informed by the DWP that the fact that we were unable to retrieve any personal identification documents following the aforementioned robbery at the Dellow Centre will not militate against my wife, and that her Big Issue vendor badge (badge no. 1170) will suffice in the circumstances. With regard to the former of these understandings, I note that Broadway Homelessness and Support has yet to receive this letter.

This has now become an extremely serious situation for my wife and me, and may, should it continue much longer, see us back sleeping rough at Salters' Hall. To further compound the situation, this morning I was denied access to food in the Dellow Centre because, according to Mr. Keith Armitage, Reception and Support Services Manager, they have been informed by Broadway Homelessness and Support that I "have a flat with access to a kitchen". (I am seeking written clarification from the Dellow Centre of the situation with regard to my wife, whose benefits have been suspended, before lodging a formal complaint against the Sisters of Mercy with the Archbishop of Westminster on the grounds of unlawful discrimination and seeking legal representation to pursue my claim.) Tomorrow my wife and I will turn up at Broadway Homelessness and Support head office to seek assistance in applying for a second crisis loan in her name, our accumulated debt to the DWP of £210 as from 20 July notwithstanding. I wrote to Broadway City Outreach team on Friday requesting an appointment for tomorrow for this purpose, and have just received a reply, stating: "We have a busy morning tomorrow and I am having trouble finding someone to be in the office to assist Maria with her Crisis Loan claim."

In September 2006 the DWP terminated our benefits because I did not sign up early enough – even though both my wife and I were doing so in a timely fashion; and I exhausted the appeals process: my case was dismissed by the High Court (Judicial Review), Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights, despite that I was denied the internal appeal process by procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority. That we are now dealing with another obvious "mistake" (however deliberate) - namely, the losing of my wife's NINO by the DWP - I cannot imagine what would motivate the officials to prevent me from successfully establishing a joint claim leading to my landlady being paid the full amount of backdated housing benefit.

You will note that I am taking the time to once again copy Superintendent Lorraine Cussen of Snow Hill Police Station into my current situation. As you are aware, it was Superintendent Cussen who, as the supervisory police officer overseeing Operation Poncho II within the City of London Police, suggested that I seek the assistance of Broadway Homelesssness and Support (see attached email of 13 July 2009 from Superintendent Cussen). I am also copying this email and attachments to, among others, the former Law Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Master of the Salters’ Company c/o the Clerk to the Salters’ Company at

Please would you acknowledge receipt.

Yours sincerely
Declan Heavey

cc The Rt. Hon. Yvette Cooper MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Master of the Salters’ Company
His Grace Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Mrs. Jo. Ansell, Chief Executive of Providence Row Charity
Superintendent Lorraine Cussen, Snow Hill Police Station