A New Residents Association On The Block!

UK’s 1st Residents Association for exclusively for those living in Emergency and Temporary Accommodation.

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ETHRAG – (Emergency and Temporary Housing Residents Action Group, have begun the process of formally being recognised by Brighton and Hove City Council as a Recognised Residents Association in Brighton and Hove. 

UK’s 1st Residents Association for exclusively for those living in Emergency and Temporary Accommodation.

In what the group are calling an early Christmas present, they are also reflecting on the 2000 children this Christmas who look set to spend the holiday season Living in Temporary Accommodation in Brighton and Hove

ETHRAG which was founded by Local Housing Campaigner Daniel Harris alongside other residents and community champions have today received formal confirmation From Brighton and Hove City Council that the City, Neighbourhoods and Communities Group will begin the process of integrating ETHRAG into the current model.

ETHRAG Founder Daniel Harris said ” This is fantastic news and a welcome step forward, having recently lived in Emergency Accommodation I understand the challenges residents face on a daily basis. The hard work from councillors like Clare Moonan and David Gibson have allowed the hidden homeless to once again have a voice.

The city indeed has a housing crisis, we also have a crisis around Emergency and Temporary Accommodation with many private landlords charging £800 for a room, with a sink, microwave and small shower. This is paid from public money and standards have dropped, ETHRAG will help to revolutionise the way we treat the vulnerable and offer a beacon of help for those who live in the dark in the city”

ETHRAG have aims which include: Better Standards, Better Treatment From landlords and Council Staff, and an End To Revenge Evictions. The Residents Association’s main objective is to be able to provide a safe space for residents to come along and get involved, we want to end the isolation and help people to fulfil there full potential in life.

Released by Daniel Harris ETHRAG Founder and Secretary

Contact Number: 07400061772

Email us.

DEMENTORS IN BRIGHTON & HOVE (1): SILENCED BY FEAR

ETHRAG Is a Residents Association Set Up for the Purposes of the article below. Brighton & Hove is clearly the city with the name of the pier changed and the other burnt down, interesting the writer left this out through fear, something many living in Emergency Accommodation in Brighton & Hove face when asking the question, do I speak out? #HousingCrisis #Brighton #Hove #EmergencyAccommodation

HOUSING CRISIS IN BRIGHTON & HOVE

“Be careful” is the most common advice I get as I delve deeper into the morass of housing policy in…..and there’s the first stumbling block as it’s better not to specifically name the city I write about, the one on England’s south coast famed for wilful neglect of one pier and the misnaming of the other. They’ve got lawyers, you see, and they’re willing to use them. Necessity then, dictates that I’ll call it the City-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. You might know the place; it has the immaculately maintained Victorian arched walkway on its east seafront, a fine selection of rubbish piling up in the backstreets and a modern-day folly which rises high above the city for all to see.

Who are ‘they’ then? It is tempting to label them as ‘the council’ but it would be unfair to bleat ‘two legs bad’ and condemn the lot of them. Not everybody involved with…

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Emergency & Temporary Accommodation Ambulance Dispatches 2016

Emergency & Temporary Accommodation Ambulance Dispatches 2016. There were 75 Ambulance Dispatches to Windsor Court, 25% of total. Cost to Council Tax Payer. 150k just for the Ambulances…..

In total we have over the last 12 months established that the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust have dispatched a total of 299 Medical Emergencies.Emergency & Temporary Accommodation Ambulance Dispatches 2016

There were 16 Addresses we requested information on. There were 75 Ambulance Dispatches to Windsor Court, which is owned by Baron Homes. That is a massive 25% of all the dispatches going to one address. 

So 299 x £500 Per Dispatch = £149,500 spent from Council Tax Payers money.

This does not include the costs associated with hospitalisation, or the human cost which have been several fatalities.

What Was The FOI Request

Please can you tell me the number of times (broken down into the last 12 months with a figure for each month and total at the end) an ambulance has been dispatched to the
following Emergency Accommodation Addresses.

3-5 Percival Terrace. BN2 1FA – Helgor Trading Limited
The Heathers, 4 Lower Rock Gardens BN2 1PG  – Helgor Trading Limited
The Bay Tree – 13 -15 Lower Rock Gardens. BN2 1PG – Helgor Trading Limited
Windsor Court, Windsor Street Brighton. BN1 1RS – Baron Homes Corporation Limited
17/19 Grand Parade, Brighton. BN2 9QB – Baron Homes Corporation Limited
8 Pavilion Parade, BN2 1RA
14 Richmond Place BN2 9NA
1-3 Richmond Place BN2 9NA
27-28 Belvedere Terrace BN1 3AF
Bramber Court, Eaton Gardens BN3 3TS
Steyning Court Eaton Gdns BN3 3TT
19-20 Westbourne Villas BN3 4GQ
Aqua House, 370 South Coast Road, Peacehaven BN10 7ES
68 Brunswick Place BN3 1EA
Wardley Hotel, 10 Somerhill Ave BN3 1RJ

Please see the attached spreadsheet which shows the number of responses to each address each month and the total number of responses over the period from 1st November 2015 to 31st October 2016.

These figures are based on a search of the postcode provided and may include responses
outside of the above mentioned properties.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Interim Chair: Sir Peter Dixon      Interim Chief Executive: Geraint

Brighton and Hove City Council Contracted Properties Responses in full

3/5 Percival Terrace BN2 1FA – Helgor Trading Limited

3/5 Percival Terrace BN2 1FA Ambulance Dispatches 2016 Table
3/5 Percival Terrace BN2 1FA Ambulance Dispatches

The Heathers – Lower Rock Gardens – Helgor Trading Limited

The Heathers, 4 Lower Rock Gardens -BN2 1PG Ambulance Dispatch Table
The Heathers, 4 Lower Rock Gardens -BN2 1PG – 2016 Ambulance Dispatches

The Bay Tree, 13/15 Lower Rock Gardens BN2 1PG – LINCAR INVESTMENTS LIMITED

The Bay Tree, 13/15 Lower Rock Gardens - Ambulance Dispatches 2016 Table
The Bay Tree, 13/15 Lower Rock Gardens – Ambulance Dispatches 2016

Windsor Court, Windsor Street BN1 1RS, Brighton and Hove – Baron Homes Corporation Limited

Windsor Court, Baron Homes Limited, Brighton and Hove. Ambulance Dispatches 2016 Table
Windsor Court, Baron Homes Limited, Brighton and Hove. Ambulance Dispatches 2016

17/19 Grand Parade BN2 9QB Brighton and Hove – Baron Homes.

17/19 Grand Parade BN2 9QB - Ambulance Dispatches 2016 - Image
17/19 Grand Parade BN2 9QB – Ambulance Dispatches 2016

8 Pavilion Parade BN2 1RA, Brighton and Hove

In January 2016 there were just 2 Emergency Responses, no more to report.

14 Richmond Place BN2 9NA

14 Richmond Place BN2 9NA. Ambulance Dispatches 2016 Image
14 Richmond Place BN2 9NA. Ambulance Dispatches 2016
1-3 Richmond Place BN2 9NA. Ambulance Dispatches 2016. Image
1-3 Richmond Place BN2 9NA. Ambulance Dispatches 2016

27/28 Belvedere Terrace BN1 3AF

27/28 Belvedere Terrace BN1 3AF. Ambulance Dispatches 2016
27/28 Belvedere Terrace BN1 3AF. Ambulance Dispatches 2016

Bramber Court, Eaton Gardens BN3 3TS

Bramber Court, Eaton Gardens BN3 3TS. Brighton and Hove Ambulance Dispatches Image
Bramber Court, Eaton Gardens BN3 3TS. Brighton and Hove

Steyning Court, Eaton Gardens BN3 3TT

Just 3 Dispatches in November 2015

19/20 Westbourne Villas BN3 4GQ

Just 1 Dispatched Ambulance in July 2016.

Aqua House, 370 South Coast Road BN10 7ES

Aqua House, 370 South Coast Road BN10 7ESAmbulance Dispatches Image
Aqua House, 370 South Coast Road BN10 7ES Ambulance Dispatches

Wardley Hotel, 10 Somerhill Avenue BN3 1RJ

Wardley Hotel, 10 Somerhill Avenue BN3 1RJ. Ambulance Dispatches 2016 Image
Wardley Hotel, 10 Somerhill Avenue BN3 1RJ. Ambulance Dispatches 2016

Another Recent Freedom of Information Request gathered this information on the reasons why Ambulances have been called out.

Ambulance Dispatch Reasons Image
Ambulance Dispatch Reasons to Brighton and Hove City Council Emergency Accommodation Properties
Ambulance Dispatch Reasons to Brighton and Hove City Council Emergency Accommodation Properties
Ambulance Dispatch Reasons (continued)

Do You Live In One of The Above Properties?

If so, you will be living in Emergency and/or Temporary Accommodation most likely housed, but not limited to Brighton and Hove City Council, If this is the case then you need to join ETHRAG.

ETHRAG is a Residents association run by people who currently live in Emergency and Temporary Accommodation, we know what its like to live there and want to improve our lives. Check out our Facebook Page to Sign Up.

October ETHRAG Minutes and Hidden Homeless Documentary

ETHRAG Group decided they wanted spot checks in addition to this not pre-scheduled and request no emergency accommodation staff present during inspection, residents feel this is intimidation and fear reprisals when they report issues in front of emergency accommodation staff and management. The Group were also clear that they wanted completely independent inspections, they feel the council ones conducted are biased.

This week saw the third and most interesting ETHRAG meeting yet, below contains the minutes of the meeting, which focused on new beginnings and the current campaigning for the Housing and New Homes Committee around Emergency Accommodation plus future ideas which include working with Invisible Voices on their second book and Fringe theatre project.

 How Did The Meeting Go

ETHRAG Public Meeting

Saturday 29th October 2016

11.00am-2.00pm

Present

ML & MH – Percival Terrace

SR & LRC – Percival Terrace

GR – Tent accommodation

AB & IR – Percival Terrace

HW – Private Rented

SH – Tent accommodation

LB – Campaigner

PP – Percival Terrace

M – Rainbow Alliance

CG – Invisible Voices

NP – Invisible Voices

CM – Councillor

TH – Councillor

DH – Temporary Accommodation

YR – Community Works

FP- Justlife

Introductions

What issues should ETHRAG focus on?

  • There is currently no support for Emergency or Temporary Accommodation (EA/TA) residents. It was raised that ETHRAG members would like to not only campaign to make their own living conditions better but also support others e.g. supporting people moving into EA/TA by welcoming them and providing advice
  • There was no sense of community in Percival Terrace before ETHRAG existed. Many people in EA/TA feel isolated and have no one to talk to. EHTRAG has made some members feel safer and provided a support network to fall back on if needed. ETHRAG should continue helping to build community in EA/TA
  • The no visitor policy contravenes the right to Home & Family Life: e.g. fathers not able to put their children to bed, mothers having to give up evening jobs because of not being able to invite a babysitter into the building
  • The cost of EA/TA (up to £850 a month) when private-rented accommodation can be found cheaper and in better condition elsewhere in the city
  • Private landlords creating and enforcing their rules which override council contracts e.g. Night-to-night contracts where people can be evicted with less than 24hrs notice even without breaching the terms of their contract with the council
  • Council Officers blocking access to management making it impossible to have contact with any of the people who have the power to actually bring about change
  • The conditions of EA/TA including long periods of time between repairs being reported and actioned and even when they are the repairs are carried out poorly e.g. no baths for children, dampness, holes in ceilings
  • Fear culture and revenge evictions e.g. people have said they are scared to speak out about the conditions in EA/TA out of fear of being evicted
  • Safeguarding concerns e.g. lots of people with very different issues in their lives all living under one roof: single parents, those fleeing domestic violence, young care leavers, those with disabilities

Housing Campaigns Update:

  • DH spoke aloud the original 10 points/issues 1600 people signed a campaign against – and from which ETHRAG was born – to check they are all still relevant to current ETHRAG members

HOUSING & NEW HOMES COMMITTEE 15 JUNE 2016

1. Homemove Allocations for vulnerable persons in priority need with a duty of care should be awarded a higher banding than band C (the general band) when placed in Emergency Housing. I am looking for a band A priority.

2. More inspections of Emergency Accommodation to ensure the living standards meets the needs of the people occupying them.

3. The council to adopt a plan to bring emergency housing into public ownership by 2020. They MUST pledge to stop funding private landlords who only have an interest in profit.

4. I want the council to ask all applicants to complete surveys with all emergency housed people to ensure they have a voice.

5. The right to food, is a human right protecting the right for people to feed themselves in dignity, The council must ensure that emergency housing adequately meets the individual’s dietary needs. The current conditions do not allow for a healthy diet which can be a huge issue for vulnerable people.

6. I want the council to be radical and rather than spend millions of tax payers money in private sector emergency and temporary housing, they should build more storage container homes after the success of the BHT scheme in Brighton.

7. I want the council to ensure that all persons in emergency accommodation have access to the internet for free.

8. To revoke the rules on no visitors. Vulnerable people are isolated enough and this in my opinion is discrimination. Even Prisoners are allowed visitors.

9. For persons who are vulnerable the council MUST provide them with secure social housing to ensure they are able to live life free from FEAR and outside the Private Sector Property Scam.

10. Ensure hot water is available in emergency housing for persons to wash in comfort.

DH then discussed the councils response and took votes as a group to decide if we support the member reccommendations.

Increase frequency of inspections to emergency accommodation and report outcomes to H&NH committee

Monthly inspections of the blocks of B&B style accommodation are already undertaken, and any issues are raised with the landlord in line with the contract specifications. Whilst there is a current good track record of repairs being completed in timescale, if issues are not addressed within the timeframes they are dealt with under the contract management arrangements. An annual performance report will be included in the committee papers regarding the number of inspections; actions raised and actions resolved.

ACTION: Group decided they wanted spot checks in addition to this not pre-scheduled and request no emergency accommodation staff present during inspection, residents feel this is intimidation and fear reprisals when they report issues in front of emergency accommodation staff and management. The Group were also clear that they wanted completely independent inspections, they feel the council ones conducted are biased.

Satisfaction surveys undertaken with residents moving into TA and results reported back

Exit surveys will be completed with residents and the information will be included in the annual performance report.

ACTION: Group would like to be involved with the questions asked in this survey and a start date for when this will start.

Review no visitor rule and consider outcome at future meeting

A risk assessment was completed for residents placed in temporary accommodation, to ensure the accommodation will be a safe and secure place for them and other residents; taking into account some residents may be very vulnerable and at risk of predatory behaviour. As the council is unable to carry out risk assessments on visitors, officers can continue to manage the risk and provide a safe environment for all residents by preventing visitors to the accommodation.

ACTION: There was some division in the group, however the group voted 11/3 in favour of reversing the no visitor rule, feeling this is a breach of human rights and something we may take up as a collective issue should the council not consider an alternative.

The group want a drop in centre for those living in temporary and emergency accommodation, this could be seen as an alternative option, with family rooms made available for those in Emergency Accommodation Block not allowing visitors. The group said if percival terrace was not safe for visitors due to the way the building is designed, then we believe it is not fit for purpose for 60 residents of various vulnerable needs, which is reflected in the reports of Emergency Services visiting the buildings.

Note: Members Voted and Supported for :A review of the no visitor rules and consider the outcome at a future meeting; with a brief to devise workable systems that enable residents to have visitors

Adopt policy of using TA which hot water supply is guaranteed.

Hot water is required and provided in all accommodation provided by the council.

ACTION: The Group still report issues at Percival Terrace, including issues whereby the shower conversions were leaking water into floors below. We want the inspections to include a test for hot water and the temperature recorded on record.

To acknowledge the Emergency & Temporary Housing Residents Action Group (ETHRAG) and work in partnership with the group and landlords to improve housing standards and quality of life for residents in emergency accommodation

ACTION: The group had in attendance frontline professionals and elected members who saw the democratic RA ETHRAG in operation, we now request officers find a way for ETHRAG to exist within Brighton and Hove’s Residents Associations frameworks.

To immediately establish an emergency accommodation board comprised of representatives from the Emergency & Temporary Housing Residents Action Group (ETHRAG), service providers, residents, landlords and elected members and council officers. The board will meet regularly to review conditions, complaints, evictions and to develop a strategic plan for recommendation to the Housing & New Homes Committee.”

ACTION: the group want a voice, councillor Clare Moonan explained that Sylvia Peckham wanted more feedback from residents living in Temporary and Emergency Accommodation, the best way for this is for the council to consult ETHRAG representatives, the current state of affairs cannot continue.

As a matter of priority the identification of sites exploration of options for the development of council-owned low cost emergency accommodation, either through a council-owned company or directly owned by the council. That this exploration focuses on non-traditional, quick to build, construction such as the Y cube and containers be considered for these sites;

ACTION: group liked this, but said we can go further with self builds, The group has decided to look further into this and take advice on possible ETHRAG self build project.

  • Issues around who would constitute an appropriate/safe ‘visitor’ (family/friends) and how ETHRAG voices itself (comments on the ETHRAG Facebook page) were raised

Ideas around developing ETHRAG in the future:

Campaigning

  • Campaign Committee: DH would be interested and would need 2 or more others to sign up ACTION POINT for ALL: If you’re interested in being part of a Campaign Committee please email DH
  • Campaign to change the visitor policy so either a.) visitors are allowed in to EA/TA but need to provide ID b.) set visiting hours are put in place or c.) an alternative solution for family members to meet in a safe and affordable way is created i.e. a drop-in centre (St George’s is available for £26 for half a day and St Anne’s Day Centre is £18 an hour. It was suggested that ETHRAG could rotate venues around the city to be more accessible)
  • Self-build campaign (Segal system)
  • Protesting
  • Street Stall: educating the public on the way council money is spent with regards to EA/TA
  • Social justice campaigning at the university

Social Action

  • Rent tribunal
  • Raise funding for independent surveys (chartered surveyor)
  • Homelessness festival which has been run in other locations and could be successful in Brighton & Hove
  • Cooking for people in EA/TA which will increase engagement with ETRAG and potentially grow the membership of the group
  • ACTION POINT: SH, DH & ML to come up with ideas for events
  • ACTION POINT: HW to interlink pre-existing services/organisations ETHRAG can work alongside

14th December Plans:

  • Christmas event will take place, mainly for children: Santa, elves, gifts, etc

1-2pm Cllrs Claire Moonan and Tracy Hill:

  • The Councillors took questions from those present at the meeting

BBC Radio 4: File on 4 – Brighton and Hove’s

The Hidden Homeless

This will be on tonight at 8pm – You Can Listen to the Show Here: File on 4 The Hidden Homeless

Date for Diary

Next Meeting for ETHRAG is December 14th St Georges Church, Kemptown, Brighton.

New Beginnings – 29th October Meeting

Agenda for the next meeting – 29th October 2016, 11-2pm – Venue: St Georges Church, Kemptown. Brighton and Hove

Hey Guys and Girls,

Here is the Agenda for the next meeting – 29th October 2016, 11-2pm – Venue: St Georges Church, Kemptown.

ETHRAG Meeting Poster Oct 2016

Agenda

What we will talk about

   11.00

  • Who’s here?
  • Getting to know each other a bit more
  • Why are we here?
  • What are our plans for today?

    12.00

  • What are the issues that ETHRAG could  focus on?

   12.30

  • Lunch                                                                                                                    

   1.00 

  • Deciding ETHRAG’s priorities

   1.45

  • Next steps – what needs to happen and who can do what?

Please RSVP Via the Facebook Page Event – Or by EmailingWe can refund travel. 

Come along and help shape your futures and meet likeminded people who want to change their lives for the better.

 

 

Paraplegic Neglected By Brighton and Hove City Council

It seems I am rather lost in the system. I get frustrated with my social worker as she seems not to be able or want to help me in the slightest and due to my young age it seem to be a discriminating factor towards me getting the correct level of assistance. Why was I only classified as Level 1 on the mobility level three months ago?

Bobby Carver has lived in his temporary accommodation attic flat for five years, before that he lived in the same emergency accommodation building as me, percival terrace and it has got me thinking as I am about to embark into Temporary Accommodation, will I be forced to live somewhere unsuitable like Bobby?

I first became aware of Bobby through ETHRAG

I was initially aware of a post posted on the The People’s Republic of Brighton & Hove Facebook Discussion Group, in Bobby’s own words:

PARAPLEGIC ABANDONED BY LOCAL COUNCIL TO LIVE IN SECOND FLOOR FLAT WITH NO LIFT AND ONLY PART TIME CARE.

A letter to…

Posted by Bobby Carver on Sunday, 9 October 2016

I urgently need your assistance. My name is Robert Carver, I am at my wit’s end and need urgent help. I am a paraplegic, with no use or feeling in either of my legs. I started suffering from a disease five years ago which is so rare that a formal accurate diagnosis is still not available but investigations are still ongoing, but is most likely to have been caused by a brain virus and is almost certainly TOTALLY IRREVERSIBLE.

For the past two years, I have been unable to walk or use my legs and I’m still in a second floor temporary accommodation flat, with a steep and narrow staircase which is clearly totally unsuitable for my needs. My social worker and many council professionals have witnessed this first hand that I have to lower myself using my arms and bouncing his bottom down said staircase falling quite often, It can take anything from an hour or more with assistance to pull myself up, step by step. How can that be fair, safe or reasonable?

My flat is tiny and cramped, none of the doorways are suitable for wheelchairs so I have to pull myself around on the floor, dragging my dead legs behind me. There is no space in the bathroom for my part time carer and me regularly I have to throw myself in the bath or be thrown in by my carer. All of this means that I am constantly damaging my bones and joints. This damage is so bad that my doctors are refusing to embark on new treatments which could ease my condition until I have more suitable accommodation.

It seems I am rather lost in the system. I get frustrated with my social worker as she seems not to be able or want to help me in the slightest and due to my young age it seem to be a discriminating factor towards me getting the correct level of assistance. Why was I only classified as Level 1 on the mobility level three months ago?

This is an ITV Meridian Report on the issue

Check out this report, its hard viewing but sadly another reality in Brighton and Hove.

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2016-10-12/helpless-prisoner-in-top-floor-flat/

Join ETHRAG

If you live in Emergency or Temporary Accommodation in Brighton and Hove, check out ETHRAG which is a residents association connecting others and helping to change the way think about Homelessness.

 

 

3000 Families In Sussex Living in Temporary Accommodation

Have you beed fobbed off by the council? Complained for nothing? Live in awful conditions? scared to speak out? no matter what your reason you can be assured we understand what you are going through. Join Like minded Residents Fighting Back!

ETHRAG Members Sam Ransom and Maggie Lindsay on Living in Emergency Accommodation.

This morning two residents bravely spoke out against living conditions faced around bring up their families isolated in Emergency Accommodation.

As reported on BBC Sussex this morning, some 3000 families in Sussex face living in Temporary Accommodation, which is a huge concern when you consider none of the 2000 families in Brighton and Hove live in local authority owned housing; instead the private sector have capitalised on this surge in this sector.

Maggie and Sam live in unsecured ‘nightly accommodation’, this is a licence agreement which only guarantees them their accommodation on a daily basis.

I Found Mouse Droppings In My Babies Cot

Are You A Family Living in Temporary Accomodation In Brighton and Hove?

If so we want to hear from you, ETHRAG is a residents association set up and run by residents living in Temporary and Emergency Accommodation in Brighton and Hove.

Have you beed fobbed off by the council? Complained for nothing? Live in awful conditions? scared to speak out? no matter what your reason you can be assured we understand what you are going through.

You can Like the ETHRAG Facebook Page and Join ETHRAG by clicking the Sign Up Button on the Facebook Page.

Listen to the Full Programme and interviews. Neil Pringle Monday 3rd October 2016