Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Barbican security guard calls the police to have us removed, and I am threatened with an arrest on the trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer

This is where we had been sleeping since the West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC) closed their winter shelters on 13 April. It was relatively safe, we didn't bother anyone, and Declan's asthma and chest infection could have been kept under control (from the Royal London Hospital's Discharge Summary of 16 April: "Diagnosed with asthma and a concurrent chest infection on 14th April at first attendance to Charing Cross Hospital").

Click to enlarge
Last night a Barbican security guard called the police as we were bedding down and PC 667CP and PC 602CP from Bishopsgate Police Station were on us in minutes. They threatened to dump our belongings onto the street if we didn't move immediately, which then became they were going to come around later with street cleaners to have us hosed out, which then became two female officers were going to arrest me later on the trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer. (I straight away thought of an article I read a couple of weeks ago about a gang of Romanian rough sleepers who terrorised residents, tourists and shopkeepers for two years around Marble Arch, one of the capital's best known and most central landmarks, because the police could do nothing about them.) We eventually decided to spend the night in King’s Cross train station rather than risk my arrest on such a trumped-up charge, and today we have decided that we have no choice now but to spend our nights sleeping on night buses until the Single Homeless Project comes through with their offer of a flat, first tabled on 21 January.
Click to enlarge

This is Declan last week just after he was diagnosed with ashma and a chest infection:
(Click to enlarge):

The surprise in all this is that today we are supposed to hear from a Single Homeless Project caseworker with an appointment to view a housing association flat. Still no word on that one!

Click to enlarge

And so much for "alternative remedies" to prevent us from becoming street homeless again when WLCHC closed their doors the week before last:

Click to enlarge

UPDATE 2 October 2014: City of London Police: If you want to challenge our word against yours again, you need to make an application to the High Court for permission to apply for judicial review

Monday, April 21, 2014

We are very concerned about what is going to happen to us in the Barbican tonight

This is a follow-up from the previous blog, "Hospital refuses to put in writing that Declan was diagnosed on 14 April with asthma and a chest infection":

33.     Both the applicant and his wife are deeply concerned that the accommodation blockade through surveillance that they have experienced in London and in Brighton for near on two years has now been extended to beyond the close of the WLCHC winter night shelters on 13 April 2014; especially, since the applicant has been diagnosed with asthma, which is a chronic, or life long, disease that can be serious – even life threatening. They have been threatened with hosings by street cleaners, serious assault and/or incarceration for rough sleeping in the Barbican estate, which is owned by the City of London (public property), for want of a place to safely sleep following the fencing off of their previous sleeping pitch in December 2013. For example, on 31 December, before the WLCHC night shelters opened, someone ran a bucket of water across a stairs above their heads as soon as they had bedded down. The following is an extract from the N4CM blog of 1 January 2014 under the title, “Declan calls into Bishopsgate Police Station for a crime intel report”:
We are concerned about what’s on the menu for tonight, so this morning we went to Bishopsgate Police Station where I showed PC 960CP all the photos I had taken. According to this police officer, there was no crime because the drenching could have been done by City of London street cleaners. In fact, he added, we should expect them every night from now on. He found our situation so hilarious that Declan told him as we were leaving that I would mention it in my blog, to which he replied, “Please do.”

So much for "alternative remedies" to prevent us from becoming street homeless again on 14 April:

Click to enlarge

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hospital refuses to put in writing that Declan was diagnosed on 14 April with asthma and a chest infection

This is a follow-up to the previous blog, "I have to bring Declan back to hospital". Declan is back to updating his complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Paragraph 30 of this new complaint deals with the termination last January of our Jobseeker's Allowance by the Department for Work and Pensions; paragraph 31 concerns a flat offer we first heard about back in January that has yet to materialise; and paragraph 32 records that yesterday afternoon Charing Cross Hospital refused to put in writing that Declan was diagnosed on 14 April with asthma and a chest infection - earlier in the day Haringey Council refused him temporary accommodation on the grounds that he did not have a priority need because his medical condition was manageable on the streets!

30.      On 7 January 2014, the applicant and his wife enrolled in a three-month rolling 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 …). It is especially 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. The applicant has yet to hear back from the High Court; however, on 21 January, the day before he lodged his case with the Court, he and his wife were approached by a WLCHC caseworker about an offer of a flat for them made by the Single Homeless Project (SHP) that would be paid for by housing benefit if they could produce two employment contracts amounting to £6,000 per annum.

31.      Following a donation from an American benefactor, on 5 February 2014 the applicant and his wife presented the SHP with two signed 12-month £3000 employment contracts as employees of Network for Church Monitoring that were due to commence on the next working day after they moved into suitable accommodation. The SHP then told the applicant and his wife that they must first come up with two payments each under contract before the Clearing House, a lettings service run by Broadway, would have a housing association flat for them paid for by housing benefit. This was a very big ask indeed, since it effectively meant that the applicant and his wife had to be at least one month suitably employed on the streets before Broadway would nominate them for a property. Then, on 26 March, having satisfied this requirement, the applicant and his wife were informed by the SHP that the Family Mosaic Housing Association had a flat for them in the London Borough of Newham but they could neither view the flat nor make a housing benefit claim for the property for at least three weeks because their SHP caseworker is on annual leave until 23 April. Consequently, the applicant and his wife have again been street homeless following the closure of the WLCHC night shelters on 13 April.

32.      On the night of 13 April 2014, the applicant and his wife’s last night with the WLCHC, the applicant was seriously threatened by another rough sleeper in an unprovoked attack (crime reference number: 6007292/14), and this notwithstanding that he had complained in four open emails to WLCHC Chairman Rev Brian Leathard about being kicked awake in the middle of the night on five separate occasions – twice in one night. The next morning, on 14 April, after providing the Metropolitan Police with a statement and photograph of the suspect, the applicant attended Charing Cross Hospital and was diagnosed with asthma and a chest infection. He attended the Royal London Hospital the following night, the discharge summary stating: “Was assessed and advised to continue with current treatment, but if situation worsening to reattend as chest infection could worsen to pneumonia. If possible should try to find accommodation off the street.” Nonetheless, the following day, on 16 April, Haringey Council refused the applicant temporary accommodation on the grounds that he did not have a priority need because his medical condition was manageable on the streets. Later that day, for his request for a review of the decision that he did not have a priority need, the applicant requested confirmation of his diagnosis in the first instance from Charing Cross Hospital but was told by the head of the emergency department that he would not only have to wait at least two weeks for a discharge summary, but he would have to pay £50 for a document the Royal London Hospital issued upon request free of charge (see Annex …). Fortunately the applicant’s discharge summary from the Royal London Hospital also states: “Diagnosed with asthma and a concurrent chest infection on 14th April at first attendance to Charing Cross Hospital”. As a result, on 17 April, the applicant requested a review of Haringey Council’s decision that he does not have a priority need (see Annex …). The applicant has yet to learn from the Council whether he will be forced to submit an application to the High Court for a judicial review into their decision to refuse him temporary accommodation.

Asthma is a chronic, or life long, disease that can be serious - even life threatening. This is Declan's email this evening to the head of the emergency department at Charing Cross Hospital:
(Click to enlarge):

As Declan points out in paragraph 32 above, when it came to his request this afternoon for a review of Haringey Council’s decision yesterday that he does not have a priority need, he was fortunate this discharge summary from the Royal London Hospital specifies that he was diagnosed with asthma and a concurrent chest infection on 14 April at first attendance to Charing Cross Hospital:
(Click to enlarge):
(Click to enlarge):

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I have to bring Declan back to hospital

Last night I had to bring Declan to the Royal London Hospital, after he was diagnosed with asthma and a chest infection only two days ago (see blog of 14 April, "Declan calls into Hammersmith Police Station for a crime intel report having been threatened with assault on our last night with the West London Churches Homeless Concern"). He was told by the GP on duty that if the antibiotic medication he is on doesn't kick-in in the next couple of days, he is looking at pneumonia next week.

(Click to enlarge):
(Click to enlarge):

This is where Declan is forced to sleep (we are also under threat of hosings by street cleaners):
(Click to enlarge):
(Click to enlarge):

Monday, April 14, 2014

Declan calls into Hammersmith Police Station for a crime intel report having been threatened with assault on our last night with the West London Churches Homeless Concern

I took the photograph below because I sensed deep trouble last night and wanted to protect Declan (see blog of 8 April, "Declan emails the chairman of West London Churches Homeless Concern a fourth time after being kicked awake in the middle of the night ... the third time was yesterday!"). He was coughing violently and breathing with difficulty, so I was given a tiny room for him in case other rough sleepers would be kept awake all night. The head of supervising staff told me I couldn't spend the night caring for him, yet within minutes another rough sleeper was in the room ... lying at Declan's feet!

As it turned out, the photograph came in extremely handy. This rough sleeper is now subject to arrest upon sight for a public order offence that caused alarm and distress. When Declan asked this guy to tell a member of staff what exactly he intended to do to him the next morning, he was struck dumb. (He had said: "I will see you tomorrow morning. I'm going to f*ck you up".) The three-month rolling winter night shelter programme run by the West London Churches Homeless Concern closed this morning, so we are now back to being street homeless (see previous blog, "My three-month brief for a solicitor following my arrest for rough sleeping in the Barbican").

(Click to enlarge):
(Click to enlarge):
(Click to enlarge):

After the police station we went straight to hospital, where Declan was diagnosed with asthma and a chest infection. He now has antibiotic tablets for seven days and a huge inhaler when the holding chamber is attached. If this time next week the chest infection persists, he has to return to A&E and perhaps be hospitalized.
(Click to enlarge):

(Click to enlarge):

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My three-month brief for a solicitor following my arrest for rough sleeping in the Barbican

My husband Declan and I were clients of the West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC) rolling winter night shelter programme for its three-month duration, commencing on 7 January 2014. Two days later, on 9 January, our Jobseeker’s Allowance was terminated without cause and, because letters of termination were never issued to us, Declan could not exercise his appeal rights. On 21 January, we were approached by a WLCHC caseworker about an offer of a flat for us made by the Single Homeless Project (SHP) that would be paid for by Housing Benefit if we could produce two 12-month employment contracts to the tune of £3000 each. (The next day, on 22 January, Declan lodged his case in the High Court (Judicial Review) against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the ground of procedural unfairness.)

On 5 February, following a donation from an American benefactor, we presented the SHP with two signed £3000 contracts as employees of Network for Church Monitoring that were due to commence on the next working day after we moved into suitable accommodation; however, the SHP then told us that we first needed to come up with two payments each under contract before a Housing Association would have a flat for us paid for by housing benefit. Then, on 26 March, having satisfied this requirement, a housing association announced that they had a flat for us in Newham. But our SHP caseworker wrote on 3 April that “the property is not ready to be seen at present and it will take around 2 weeks for the property to become available for viewing”, informing us further that we could neither view the flat nor make a housing benefit claim for at least 3 weeks because he is on annual leave until 23 April.

So we have been back sleeping rough in the Barbican since 14 April (following the fencing off of our sleeping pitch in December 2013), where we expect to be harassed, intimidated and attacked by the police, security, et al. According to our SHP caseworker before he went on his holidays, we don't qualify for emergency accommodation because both City and Haringey councils see us as non-priority. Further, this caseworker explored sourcing short term temporary accommodation at a reduced rate in a hotel or lodging house for when the WLCHC winter shelters closed, but was relatively unsuccessful; the best he could do was £900 for four weeks in B&B accommodation. Declan is currently looking for a solicitor who will provide the SHP with a letter for either City or Haringey council that clearly establishes we are a priority need case, and, accordingly, should be provided with short term temporary accommodation while we await a permanent home (please see, for example, an email Declan received from Stephensons Solicitors attached).

As I mention in the statement above, our sleeping pitch was fenced off in December 2013.
20 December 2013 (click to enlarge):
17 December 2013 (click to enlarge):

This is Declan packing up to leave on 16 December 2013 at our usual time of 6am:
(Click to enlarge):

And so much for "alternative remedies" to prevent us from becoming street homeless again on 14 April:

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Declan emails the chairman of West London Churches Homeless Concern a fourth time after being kicked awake in the middle of the night ... the third time was yesterday!

It seems that being kicked awake in the middle of the night, and then having to find a member of staff so that the rough sleeper is told to move back onto his own mat, is becoming a nightly occurrence for Declan (for the background and links, see previous blog, "Declan emails the chairman of West London Churches Homeless Concern a third time after being kicked awake in the middle of the night ... except this time he is the one told to move!"). But he will only need to endure this for another six nights because the rolling winter night shelter programme run by the West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC) closes on Monday morning. This is Declan's fourth email to the chairman of the WLCHC on health and safety grounds:

Click to enlarge
On Monday night we are back to sleeping rough in the Barbican estate, which is owned by the City of London (public property), for want of a place to safely sleep following the fencing off of our previous sleeping pitch in December 2013. All the indications are that something bad is going to happen pretty quickly, and Declan being made footless on the run-in to the Barbican seems to be a big plus. We are not sure which is most likely to happen first: security manhandling our belongings or being robbed in the middle of the night. Of course, it could also be a violent attack (see blog of 1 January, "Declan calls into Bishopsgate Police Station for a crime intel report") or my arrest for refusing to be moved on (see blog of 11 September 2008, "I am arrested for 'breach of the peace'"). We suspect our possessions are a major target and so have decided to store my laptop and other valuable items in our self storage unit.

We are told we only have to survive 10 days for our Single Homeless Project (SHP) caseworker to return from his annual leave and we can then finally move into our Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) flat.

Click to enlarge

Monday, April 07, 2014

Declan emails the chairman of West London Churches Homeless Concern a third time after being kicked awake in the middle of the night ... except this time he is the one told to move!

Since 7 January we have been bedding down with 35 other rough sleepers in a rolling winter night shelter programme run by the West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC), which closes next Monday. On 10 March Declan was twice kicked awake in the middle of the night. A week later, on 17 March, he was kicked awake in the middle of the night and the head of the supervising staff had to physically extricate the rough sleeper's legs from his mat. Last night was more eventful. After Declan reported being kicked awake, a member of the supervising staff told him to move out because the rough sleeper in question proved too difficult to move. Women sleep separately, so I only learnt about this at 6.00am this morning. This is Declan's third email to the chairman of WLCHC on health and safety grounds:

Click to enlarge

The head of supervising staff on Mondays previously described the kicks as an "accident", so I suppose Declan just has bad luck. The worst "accident" that comes to mind took place in June 2008 when Declan's hold-all bag containing our documents, passports, money and other things vanished in the Catholic Sisters of Mercy Dellow Centre, the very same morning Declan was due to lodge a second application for priority with the European Court of Human Rights. (We have been forced to sleep rough on the streets of London for more than 3 1/2 years in total, from 4 November 2006 to 13 July 2009 and again from 14 April 2013 to the present day.) As Declan reveals in paragraph 20 of his recent complaint to the United Nations, the Sisters of Mercy subsequently refused to release CCTV footage of the robbery to the police.
Click to enlarge

Friday, April 04, 2014

Yep, I am right: Hospital (or a prison cell) before flat

This is following yesterday's blog, "I'm sure one of us will end up in hospital before we get a flat". I am reluctant to bet with Declan on which of us is going to end up in hospital first and we certainly want to avoid that scenario, so this Declan's new email to solicitors:

(Click to enlarge)

And so much for "alternative remedies":

Click to enlarge

Thursday, April 03, 2014

I'm sure one of us will end up in hospital before we get a flat

Talks of a Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) flat for us began back in January but I am more convinced than ever that one of us is going to end up in hospital (or in a prison cell) before this flat becomes available to us, despite the voice message Declan received yesterday morning from the Single Homeless Project (SHP):

The Housing Association are willing to sign you up with your current income, etc; they would like to see a claim launched before they hand the keys over. However, the property is in void status at the moment, which means they are turning it around - basically about a month's turnaround; they are a week or so into it. So it's going to be a few weeks, probably 2 or 3 weeks until the property is available and obviously we need to arrange a viewing and see whether you want it.

Our SHP caseworker then informed us later in the day that he is going on annual leave for two weeks and we now don't know if this means we cannot make the claim for Housing Benefit that the Housing Association is calling for. We are keen to get things moving as fast as possible because the West London Churches Homeless Concern winter rolling night shelter programme ends on 10 April, and then we are facing incarceration for rough sleeping in the Barbican estate, which is owned by the City of London (public property), for want of a place to safely sleep following the fencing off of our previous sleeping pitch in December 2013. But of course, before we are arrested we are looking at some form of violent attack (see blog of 1 January, "Declan calls into Bishopsgate Police Station for a crime intel report"). So this is Declan's email to our caseworker this morning:
(Click to enlarge)