Blog Archive

May 2014

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    Compensation for homeless families in B&B's have been delayed

    The council has paid £153,968 in compensation to 81 homeless families who were illegally kept in the Bed and Breakfast accommodation, according to Inside housing.Westminster agreed to pay £500 as compensation for each family kept longer than six weeks with an extra £83.83 payment for every subsequent week.Last September, a Local Government Ombudsman reported of 'Mal-administration causing...

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    The Patient Council ask for GPs to extend opening hours

    Chief Executive Maeve Hully also expressed her concern that there are "strong arguments for concern about people's experiences in the process of accessing care".She added that while "most people could access their GP within a reasonably acceptable time," availability of appointments could be improved.She said: "Those who experience difficulty may delay seeking and obtaining treatment, underuse...

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    Help to buy is making UK houses more expensive with an increased demand and a dwindling supply

    Lawrence Hall of Zoopla.co.uk also said:"The help to buy scheme was introduced to help grease the wheels for buyers locked out of the market. But fuelling demand was also expected to spark sellers into action and increase the supply of properties available on the market."That spark seems yet to ignite as the overall level of properties eligible under help to buy has actually fallen over the last...

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    Over 40% of domestic violence victims are male

    Almost two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men contradicting the widespread impression that it is women who are mainly assaulted, a new report claims.A study by men's rights campaign group party found that men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refuges to flee to than women.The charities report ‘Domestic...

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    ‘Number one debt problem' created by welfare reforms is council tax arrears

    The bedroom tax has caused the biggest public outcry, the number of people who are struggling with council tax payments has increased dramatically since council tax benefit was replaced by localised council tax support schemes in April 2013. In the first three months of this year, 27,000 people with council tax arrears problems received help from Citizens Advice, which is a 17% increase on the...

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    Social housing tenants live in fear due to bedroom tax

    An Ipsos MORI survey carried out for the National Housing Federation found that almost a third of people affected by the bedroom tax have said they have to cut back on food and more than a quarter have cut back on heating as a result of this tax, reports 24dash.Almost half of people affected have had to borrow money to help them pay their rent since the spare room subsidiary was introduced in...

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    Schools need to do more to help pupils with their mental health

    Oxford Mental Health Forum has said that school should have regular talks on mental health and increase training and resources for schools. They also said that more printed material is needed for pupils and counselling should be available throughout the county.The forum's online survey received responses from 15 schools, 300 youngsters aged 16 to 25, 44 professionals and 21 parents or carers....

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    Supported housing provider joins forces with foodbank

    Funded by Kent County Council, the service works with other professionals, agencies and individuals and has strong links with vouchers holders at Deal Area Emergency Foodbank. The housing service provides support and life skills for independent living, reports Kent Online. Julia Thompson, foodbank project co-ordinator, said: "Sanctuary Supported Living has an amazing team of support workers who...

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    Universal Credit has been reset

    The Major Projects Authority, the government watchdog responsible for its implementation, has decided that Universal Credit is now a totally new project due to its drastic reconfiguration. The MPA has decided that there have been too many setbacks and now Universal Credit has been sent back to the drawing board, reports 24dash. In its report, the MPA said: "The ‘reset' category has been...

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    Job vacancies at Colebrook

    Community Centre Manager (Full Time) £25,000To play a key role in the initial project and ongoing day to day management of two community halls which Colebrook have recently acquired. The role will involve working to ensure both centres attain financial viability with support from the development team and the recruitment/management of volunteers and a volunteer steering group.This is a one year...

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    New support scheme to help people with mental health problems in Newcastle

    Previously residents with mental health conditions would have their financial decisions taken away from them and a member of staff would become their appointee. Medications would also be tightly controlled and distributed by members of staff.Newcastle council's new recovery support team now places emphasis on helping clients become independent. The team works with approximately 70 people with...

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    Life expectancy of people with mental health illnesses shorter than heavy smokers

    Researchers at Oxford University have found that mental health problems such as anorexia and recurrent depression can affect a person's life expectancy in the same way smoking 20 cigarettes a day.The researchers found that people who smoked 20 cigarettes a day can see a reduction by eight to ten years in their life expectancy. People who have bipolar disorder have a life expectancy of between...

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    50,000 older people in Wales live in poverty

    Age Cymru has gather research through the charity's income maximisation and information and advice services, and have found that 84,000 older people in Wales were living in poverty.200,000 older people in total within Wales had reported cutting back on food, heating and social activities for financial reasons. The report titled ‘Life on a Low Income' has estimated that £168m is unclaimed by...

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    Minister says mental health wait standards ‘must happen next year'

    Speaking to the Health Service Journal, Norman Lamb has said that improved waiting time standards and moving to a tariff-based payment system rather than block contracts were important to improve focus and funding for the sector. The government's mandate to NHS England 2014-15, which sets what the service must deliver, says NHS England, who working with others must "develop a range of costed...

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    Charity finds 4,000 households risk losing their home each week

    Analysis of possession notices issued over the last year suggests that 215,000 homes in England are at risk of eviction or repossession and Shelter are warning that rising interest rates would bring more households under threat, reports the Guardian.The research found that people are most likely to face losing their home in Newham in London and Salford is the biggest "eviction and repossession...

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    Charity reports at least five homeless people in Belfast have died this year

    The charity cites poor mental and physical health due to harsh condition as the cause of these deaths. In a separate report by the BBC, the average life expectancy of someone who is homeless is about 47 years old.Whilst there has been a rise in rough sleeping in Northern Ireland over the past five years, volunteers allege that there are many more ‘hidden homeless' who are using council services...

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    Report finds bedroom tax failed to solve under-occupancy

    The report titled, ‘Here and There: One year of the Bedroom Tax', has been composed by six housing associations and is the first of its kind to analyse a complete years' worth of data on the impact of the governments under-occupancy policy, reports 24dash. It reveals that almost three quarters of people who have been affected are unable to downsize due to a shortage of smaller homes and housing...

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    Mental health increasing reason for housing homeless

    A report placed in a Parliamentary library this month reveals the number of homeless people who have a mental health problem qualifying for council housing has risen by 38.7% since 2010. This compares with just 27% for the overall increase in the number of people qualifying for social housing as a result of homelessness applications to local authorities over the same period, reports the Health...

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    Completion of improvement programme for social landlord's sheltered housing

    Knightstone Housing Association has just finished a refurbishment of eleven schemes in Bath, Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare with each scheme having a focus on better lighting, level access showers, more accessible garden areas and new facilities, reports Inside Housing. Further facilities include automatic front door entry systems and work on communal areas and tenants' kitchens and bathrooms...

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    DWP falsifies figures about people with disabilities

    Ministers have continually stated that the majority of people on disability living allowance were given benefits for life without any supporting medical evidence. In an official press release by the DWP it claimed that "more than 50% of decisions on entitlement are made on the basis of the claim form alone, without any additional corroborating medical evidence."However, the UK Statistics...

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    Bedroom tax challenge for young people with care needs

    Susan and Paul Rutherford from Pembrokeshire care for their thirteen year-old-grandson who suffers from a rare genetic disorder Potocki-Shaffer syndrome in a specially adapted three bedroom bungalow which includes a spare room for overnight carers to stay in.Both of his grandparents suffer from disabilities themselves and struggle to look after him along, so paid carers stay overnight at least...

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    Mental health services are failing three-quarters of young people

    An internal presentation produced by NHS England has shown that budget cuts and increasing demands have put the service in crisis. The report also highlights that young people in need for treatment for complex mental health conditions and assessments for conditions such as ADHD and autism are being delayed whilst others are not being identified or treated. It notes that only 6% of spending on...

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    £2m funding from the government for a homelessness renting scheme

    The programme is run by the homelessness charity Crisis and, is designed to match good landlords to homeless people and help them with deposits and budgeting advice.The additional £2m from the Communities and Local Government department will support the scheme, which over the past three years has funded 153 projects, which helps over 8,000 homeless people find stable housing, reports Inside...

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    Campaigner argues bedroom tax victimises patients with mental health problems

    Pam Jenkinson, president of Wokingham Mental Health Association in Berkshire, is currently disputing rules that deny people with mental health problems the space that allows a carer to stay with them overnight.Last week Mrs Jenkinson represented a woman suffering from depression, anxiety and anorexia at an unsuccessful appeal against the bedroom tax last week, reports 24dash. The social housing...

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    Offenders placed in prison for a day in a bid to cut re-offending

    The Centre for Social Justice has urged the government to look to the US where this approach appears to work. The report has said that a third of people given community sentences re-offended within a year, reports the BBC. Community sentences, where an offender does not have to spend time in hail, range from 300 hours unpaid work to voluntary addiction treatment or having to make amends to a...

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    Councils have turned down over 1,600 crisis fund claims made by people with disabilities

    Councils have rejected over 1,600 applications from people with disabilities who have been affected by the bedroom tax last year, which potentially undermines claims that the policy is not discriminatory, reports Inside Housing.Lawyers who are acting for tenants with disabilities challenging the reforms are considering using the findings to take their case to the UK's highest court. The freedom...

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    Physical health checks for mental health patients

    The programme aims to reduce the number of mental health patients who die from heart, liver and lung disease. NHS England has said the scheme is the biggest initiative of its kind, reports the BBC.The life expectancy of mental health patients is similar to people living in the 1950s due to physical health problems shortening their lives by about fifteen years earlier than the general population....

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    Ministers’ Attempts To Slash Fraud And Error In The Benefits System May Be Undermined

    This is due to the indecision over how the housing element of universal credit will work.Nevertheless, local authorities can cross-check claims across range of data relating to other council services, according to reports by Inside Housing.Dame Anne Begg, chair of the committee also said:"Universal credit has the potential over the longer term to substantially reduce fraud and error in the...

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    60% of households hit by benefit caps are families with children

    Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 60% of affected households had between one and four children, with 36% have five or more.Figures from the DWP show, that since the introduction of the benefit cap on 15th April 2013 to March 2014: •        Overall 42,200 households have had their housing benefit capped; the figure for March 2014 stood at...

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    Wale's social care services receives major overhaul

    The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 became law on the 1st of May and is the basis for an overhaul on the workings of adult and children's social care in the country.The changes include the creation of a National Adoption Service, portable assessments which will follow individuals if they move between local authorities and a National Outcomes Framework which sets out what children...

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    Tenants face eviction due to their refusal to pay bedroom tax

    Wolverhampton Homes, who manage over 23,000 properties, has said that 60% of its tenants have been affected by the under-occupancy policy and have consequently fallen into debt.The ALMo's director of housing, Mark Henderson, has warned that people who are yet to pay any bedroom tax will soon face eviction, reports 24dash. He said: "There are 36 people who have so far chosen not to pay anything...

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    The number of people in work claiming housing benefits has increased by 60%

    A study commissioned by Labour from the House of Commons library has found that 400,000 more working people are claiming housing benefit every year, which is an estimated £4.8bn extra cost over the course of the current parliament, reports 24dash. The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, said: "These shocking figures expose the complete failure of David Cameron's government to...

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    Housing minister refuses to fund social landlords without domestic violence policies

    Carl Sargeant spoke to Inside Housing and said that some housing associations do not have sufficient polices on domestic violence."I will not fund organisations that don't comply to what I think is a common sense approach to community safety. For organisations that don't want to move forward on the issue of domestic violence, our relationship will cease."Mr Sargeant wrote a letter to all Welsh...

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    Significant increase in the number of UK war veterans seeking help for mental health treatment

    Combat stress has said it's received a 57% increase in new Afghanistan veteran referrals from 2012 to 2013. The charity currently supports over 660 Afghanistan veterans; however warn that the issue could become heightened as UK forces prepare to leave the country, reports the BBC.Combat Stress said they found veteran generals waited an average of thirteen years after serving before seeking help,...

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    Bedroom tax and welfare reforms leave tenant evictions at highest level in over ten years

    Official figures from the Ministry of Justice have revealed that between January and March landlords went to court the equivalent of 525 times day to make claims to repossess properties. The majority of these landlords were social landlords who took the first steps towards evicting over 31,000 tenants, reports the Guardian.Daniel Fitzpatrick, a partner at a law firm representing social tenants in...

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    £ 3.9m homelessness funding returned by landlords

    14% of the £29.7m homelessness change fund has been returned by six providers due to financial uncertainty caused by welfare reforms, local opposition and difficult planning, reports Inside Housing.Slough YMCA won £661,400 from the HCA to build a hostel on the site of an abandoned petrol station. Colin Young, chief executive, said the charity was unable to raise the additional funds. He said...

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    One district's housing team at ‘breaking point' due to increase in homelessness

    The number of people presenting themselves as homeless in Uttlesford has risen by 64% in the past two years, and the number of households in need of affordable homes whilst the housing team found accommodation for the homeless.  The housing team have said here are now 1,813 households waiting on the council's register for social housing, which is a 53% rise in two years, reports Cambridge...

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    70,000 crisis fund requests rejected by councils

    Inside Housing has conducted research which reveals that 153 councils underspent their discretionary housing payment allocations last year, whilst others turned away thousands of applicants whilst still spending over their allocated amount. Responses by 203 councils to freedom of information requests showed 249,457 applications for DHP were received in 2013/14. Of these, 70,486 were refused, with...

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    Homeless charity in Northern Ireland's benefit warning

    Crisis is urging the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure people with vulnerabilities are protected.A study by charity and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that almost one in eighteen adults had experienced homelessness, which is 6% of all adults in Northern Ireland, reports the BBC.The study found that homeless figures in Northern Ireland have been historically high since 2005/06 due to a...

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    Delays in the asylum system leaving many refugees homeless

    The charity is calling on the government to review its system so that delays are eliminated in issuing documentation.In the report, titled '28 Days Later: the experience of new refugees in the UK', the short period of time between the granting of refugee status and the end of asylum support is analysed. Using information from the 469 advice sessions Refugee Council held in 2013 for individuals it...

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    Ministers told that homeless women are being failed across the UK

    Homeless charity St Mungo's Broadway presented findings from its recent Rebuilding Shattered Lives report to the Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness yesterday. The report shows that over 10,000 women were in homelessness services in the UK last year and many more are ‘hidden homeless'. The report shows problems such as separation from children, mental and physical ill health, prison...

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    NHS Better Care Fund delayed after Whitehall review

    The government's policy to help stop the NHS from becoming overwhelmed has been delayed after a confidential Whitehall review has concluded that it would not work as hoped.The Better Care Fund, of £3.8bn a year, was meant to launch last week, however its introduction was surrounded in doubt after the Cabinet Office said there was little or no detail about how the expected savings would be...

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    Work places urged to become ‘dementia friendly'

    Dementia affects almost 700,000 people in England and many friends and family take on the role of carer. Public Health England predicts that in 2014 50,000 carers will have to quit their job and 66,000 more will have to make adjustments at work.Due to these statistics they are launching a new awareness campaign, reports the BBC. The new Dementia Friends initiative aims to show how a...

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    Homeless stuck in supported accommodation due to housing shortages

    Supported accommodation is used to provide people with the help they need with issues such as homelessness, mental health or substance misuse; and is an important step in giving people back their independence. They are not however, designed to provide long term care for residents. Homeless Link's annual review found that 32% of people in homelessness projects were ready to move on but due to a...

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    Eviction rates double following bedroom tax

    Through a freedom of information request it has been revealed that Norwich City Council has evicted sixteen households due to rent arrears between April 2013 and January 2014, compared to eight in the same period the year before, reports 24dash. Green Party councillor Ash Haynes, who made the FOI request, said: "This is further evidence that the coalition government's welfare reforms are not...

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    Cuts see mental health patients having to travel hundreds of miles for care

    The number of patients travelling to seek emergency treatment has doubled in the last two years, with one patient was admitted to a deaf unit as no beds were available anywhere in the country.Leading charities have called this situation a disgrace. One mental health trust spent £345,000 last year placing patients in bed and breakfast accommodation to free up needed beds, reports the BBC.Over...

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    Online universal credit system will leave many social housing tenants struggling

    Research from the National Housing Federation has discovered fresh concerns that people on low incomes will struggle to access universal credits digital service, with 40% of people have been affected by the changes having no internet access at all.According to 24dash, the report shows: •         30% of tenants would not be confident making a benefit application...

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    Night shelters for homeless people encouraged to sign up to new voluntary code

    Currently night shelters are unregulated and problems arise such as poor access to fire exits, overcrowding and low staffing levels. On the 12th of June the chief executive of Housing Justice, Alison Gelder, will launch a "quality mark" for shelters, reports Inside Housing. Under this new code providers will need to provide separate rooms for men and women, toilets and ensure that systems are in...

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    Study into the possibility of delaying the onset of dementia

    One third of a million adults in the UK are taking part in a trial, funded by the Medical Research Council to try to predict what factors increases the risk of a person developing dementia.Each of the volunteers enrolled in the UK Biobank four to five years ago where they gave blood and urine samples, underwent fitness tests and gave answers on their health and diet. They also did a series of...

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    B&B accommodation replaced by annexes as home for the homeless

    Since a government crackdown on council bed and breakfast use for homeless people the number of families being placed in emergency ‘annex' accommodation in London has risen by a third. Whilst it is illegal to house families and pregnant women in bed and breakfasts for more than six weeks there is no legal limit for annex accommodation which is self-contained with no shared facilities.Figures...

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    Mental health nurses support people in custody in Leicestershire police stations

    The project will pilot in Leicestershire and provide support to people appearing in youth and adult courts. The funding has come from the Department of Health and is one of ten national schemes announced by the minister for care and support, Norman Lamb, reports the Leicester Mercury.The all-age liaison and diversion service is being run by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust alongside...

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    Two-thirds of residents in one borough in arrears due to bedroom tax

    The borough council's finance chief, Councillor Steve Eling, allowed councils to develop a strategy which identified individuals that were falling behind on rent and support them if they are eligible for support through discretionary housing payments, reports the Express and Star.He said: "The way government benefits  reforms have played out on the ground is tens of millions of pounds have been...

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    Universal credit to be rolled out across North West

    Some areas across the country are already using this new system, which the government claims will bring £35bn of benefits to the economy when it is fully rolled out.As part of the new system, the government has pledged more equipment for jobseekers to search for work online and transform the relationship between claimants and their jobcentre adviser to focus their search for work, reports...

Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 Good organisation from beginning to end. Excellent keynote speaker. Relevant and important topics for discussion which were to everyone's advantage within the supported housing sector. B.H - Stevenage Haven

 

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