A colleague this week told me she had had a “What the f**k” moment when reflecting on her work. It was her way of saying things are going badly wrong with the fabric of the welfare state. Please excuse her language, but when you see what she has been dealing with over the last week, you might yourself ask: “What the f**k is going on?”. Here are a few examples:
- A local authority telling a woman fleeing DV that she is intentionally homeless because it was “reasonable” for her to return to the marital home because there weren’t many police reports
- A man in a respite mental health support unit being supported by the mental health crisis team after suicide attempts was deemed by a local authority as not being in priority need
- A homeless couple, one 18 years old, the other 17, were not in priority need
- An individual was told that they were “intentionally homeless” because the landlord refused the tenant entry to the property after an unlawful eviction
- A client’s housing benefit element of Universal Credit has not been processed after 6 weeks “because there is a backlog” (how many people are actually claiming Universal Credit right now?).
As a foot note, my colleague was in Court on Thursday trying to stop the bailiffs warrant from being executed. She had to explain to the Judge what was going on. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the Department for Work and Pensions was in Court having to explain to the Judge why they have not processed a claim in 6 weeks…..?
She was successful and another case of homelessness was prevented.
So what does my colleague think about what she is trying to deal with? She told me: “It appears that most things have been put in place to make things worse. Loss of Legal Aid, reduction in legal aid, DWP reforms, reductions in preventative care / measures. Reduction in supporting people monies, removal of regulatory bodies to see what local authorities are really doing. Big Boy housing associations where money appears to be the driving factor and not service to tenants.
“I’m not sure where it will all end up.”