Monday, February 17, 2014

Today we start employment as employees of N4CM, but it is still not good enough for the Single Homeless Project

Paragraph 30 from Declan's complaint last Monday to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

30. On 7 January 2014, the applicant and his wife enrolled in a winter night shelter programme for rough sleepers run by the West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC). Two days later, on 9 January, they turned up at Barnsbury Jobcentre of the Department for Work and Pensions to sign on for Jobseeker’s Allowance only to be told that the applicant’s joint claim had been terminated. Neither the applicant nor his wife has ever been issued with a letter of termination with or without appeal rights, and on 22 January the applicant filed a claim in the High Court for judicial review against Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith on the ground of procedural unfairness (see Annex 24, Department for Work and Pensions: Application for Judicial Review, pp. 59-64); it is noteworthy here that the applicant has provided the Court with substantial evidence that in late 2013 he was twice sanctioned on a new claim for jobseeker’s allowance that he never made. On 28 January, a caseworker from WLCHC informed the applicant and his wife that the Single Homeless Project (SHP) would have a flat for them paid for by housing benefit if they could produce 12-month employment contracts to the tune £6,000. However, on 5 February, the day after they produced two signed £3000 contracts, the SHP rejected both contracts because the applicant and his wife’s employment would commence on the first working day after they have moved into suitable accommodation. The SHP failed to clarify, in the first instance, that the applicant and his wife must come up with two payments each under two £3000 contracts before the charity would have a flat for them paid for by housing benefit. This is a very big ask indeed, since it effectively means that both the applicant and his wife must be at least one month suitably employed on the streets before the SHP will provide them with support to access the private rented sector (see Annex 25, Single Homeless Project: Email to WLCHC re offer of a flat, p. 65). [emphasis added]