Overcrowding – Is This England?

  Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live  – John Milton

In March one of our tenants turned up at the office with his wife and three children asking us to re-house him with his family. Understandably they had worked hard to be reunited together and unbeknown to us our tenant had completed an immigration form saying he would financially sponsor his wife coming to the UK from Somalia, neglecting to inform them he didn’t have a job and lived in a single room. The legal advice we sought confirmed this meant they had no recourse to public funds and would not be housed. We contacted Social Services explaining that five people, including three children under 10 years old were living in a box room in shared accommodation for vulnerable people. They said it was a ‘housing issue’ and refused to help. Due to our staff working tirelessly on behalf of our tenant the Council have agreed to rehouse the family, but not until they have been evicted from our property. This has taken the time – almost four months – and money. The possession order was received today and maybe, just maybe the family will now be offered temporary accommodation. My hunch is that it will take the council longer to house them and we will be forced to initiate bailiff proceedings. A family fleeing the horrors of war comes to seek asylum under the Geneva Convention in the UK. They are not seeking better paid jobs or to exploit our benefits system, they are escaping torture and death… Our institutions have failed them; Immigration, Housing and Children’s Services. What’s the lesson here? Don’t rely on our government to help people? It takes a charity to make sure people receive the help they need? Would John Milton recognise this England? Author Card Steve