Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Caroline Lucas MEP "Shocked" by Council's Answer to 'Temporary Accommodation'

Caroline Lucas, prospective Green candidate for Brighton Pavillion and European MEP and Councillor Ian Davey visited two homeless residents, George and Diane, at a 'temporary  hostel' on Saturday. They both expressed "shock" and "outrage" at the living conditions of the Helgar Trading Ltd owned hostel, a company in receipt of hundreds of thousands pounds of taxpayers money every year. 

Caroline was shown by George and Diane the squalid living conditions of tenants in the hostel on the seafront. 

The two residents have been living in the 'temporary' accommodation since their eviction at the hands of Moat Housing Association over a year ago, the Council having failed to rehouse them ever since.

The hostel charges residents a 'top up' fee of £12 from the tenants every week, yet gives an absolute minimum to tenants in terms of living conditions, with stale smelling rooms and corridors, pigeons constantly defacating outside the basement room window, water dripping from the ceiling, a freezing cold kitchen in the winter, with very damp walls, plaster which is falling off, a shower into which neither George or Diane can fit so they are unable to wash, a shower which gurgles mysteriously with a foul smell of sewage. In the room there is not enough space in a room for a sofa, so the wearied and tenants, one of whom has mental health problems, have developed back prolems from watching the television, with only one channel, from bed.

George and Diane are not in a partnership but a carer-caree friendship, yet have been housed together in just one room since their eviction.

The living conditions caused Caroline Lucas to express her horror at both the living conditions of the residents and the fact that the owners of the disgusting hostel make thousands off the back of society's most vulnerable.

"The living conditions I have seen here are scandalous," said the Green MEP. "The most shocking aspect of what I have seen here is that the owners of this hostel give absolutely nothing to the residents yet must be making hundreds of thousands of pounds, all at the taxpayers expense."

Caroline also expressed her shock at the fact that Moat Housing Association and Brighton and Hove City Council's Social Services Team had reassured George and Diane that they would put their belongings from their old property into storage for them, only for the removal company to destroy all of their possessions, even personal belongings of emotional value, such as pictures of Diane's daughter and letters.

Having seen the squalor in which George and Diane are forced to live everyday, she committed herself to doing all she could to assist them in moving out of the property and into better accommodation and resolved to ensure that Brighton's authorities are made fully aware of the scandalous attitude of Helgar Trading Ltd towards Brighton's homeless, the conditions of their hostel and the injustice that the proprietor is making thousands of pounds off the plight of those without choice in Brighton, those without access to permanent accommodation.

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