Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Salters tell us they will fence us out in two weeks

What on earth can warrant our incarceration? The world has gone mad. 1984 is upon us!

Last night Salters informed Declan and me that in two weeks time we will be fenced out of our sleeping pitch. As soon as this happens, we will have no option but to move back up to the highwalk we were on a few months ago. However, there has been nowhere on the derelict side of the highwalk we have been able to bed down since we were fenced out of there last September, therefore we will be forced to find a sleeping pitch somewhere in the residential part of the highwalk over a foot bridge, a complex called the Barbican which is owned by the City of London Corporation (public property). Strictly speaking, I cannot be arrested without a court order, but as they did back in September 2008, the City of London Police can arrest me on the trumped-up charge of breaching the peace for refusing to move on (see blog of 11 September 2008, "I am arrested for 'breach of the peace'"). We fully expect this to happen before Christmas, whether one or both of us have been badly assaulted first or not. We will never sleep at a street level again; it is traumatizing just to think about it (paragraphs 19-21 of Declan's recent complaint to the United Nations below deals with this under the title "Sleeping rough in London (3 November 2006 to 13 July 2009)").

Declan took this photo at 6.30am today after we had packed up to leave:

(Click to enlarge):

This is the fence-off of our sleeping pitch last September on a derelict St Alphage Highwalk at the back of the Salters building.
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Click to enlarge

In our case bad news never comes alone. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have informed us they are going to terminate Declan's joint claim for Jobseekers Allowance any day now, having put the claim under suspension since 4 October. Since 18 October, Declan has had to deal with one unlawful sanction after another based on a claim the DWP made in his name which neither of us have signed nor seen. Unfortunately he has to deal with a HMCTS (Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service) tribunal before he can bring the case before the High Court in an application for judicial review. He is doing everything he can to get the case to HMCTS as soon as possible, but will probably not be able to do so this side of termination because the DWP are playing for time on just about every letter Declan writes.

As Declan's complaint to the United Nations below explains, a month after eviction from our flat on 14 March we were forced onto the streets, where an accommodation blockade through surveillance that has been maintained against us for over a year shows no signs of abating. For example, for over eight months Broadway Homelessness and Support, which has charitable responsibility for us as rough sleepers within its catchment area, have never spoken to us when we are bedded down, will not confirm or deny our verification as rough sleepers, and have yet to engage with us in relation to our welfare and access to their service for supporting clients to find alternative accommodation (paras 27, 28 and 31). This notwithstanding that we: (a) were provided with the deposit on a flat and one months' rent up front by a benefactor in America, (b) have an immaculate credit report from the credit reporting agency Experian, and (c) have a wholly acceptable reference letter from our previous tenancy stating that we "kept the property in very good order, were quite and paid the rent on time".

We are now deeply concerned about the threat limb and liberty posed by Salters' latest move against us. The last nine months have been anything other than a cake walk, including having to contend with hosings from Salters and an unmerciful racket by their cleaners for anything up to two hours in the early hours of every weekday morning (para 30). The Salters' Company, one of the most respected champions of improvements in science education in the UK, in reply to an email Declan sent to the Master of the Company Prof Sir John Holman from the University of York, stated on 24 May 2013: "[W]e are not in a position to take any action on your behalf and therefore please do not expect any further responses to any further communications from you. I wish you success in finding suitable accommodation in due course."

It's hard to know exactly where all this is going because there is always the possibility we could garner the support we need to come off the streets before the threat to limb and liberty come in to play. Our problem is the seemingly little time we have to attract such support.