Monday, 25 June 2012

LGBT and Police Discrimination

I heard a fascinating account of a night out from someone who has in the past attended the Soup Run.

The man in question went out for a night out with his friend who is a lesbian. The two decided to go to a gay club in Brighton called 'Revenge'.

So, they both got dressed up for a night out. The man and woman arrived at Revenge, but, at the door, while the lady was accepted, the man was turned away.

I asked the gentleman in question whether any reason was cited for his not being allowed into Revenge. I asked whether he thought it was because he was black or because he has dreadlocks, or was not dressed appropriately or something.  No reason for his not being allowed into the club was given, just that 'he can't come in'.

"I don't understand it," he said, "I'm heterosexual but how can they tell that just by looking at you? It was like they had a profile and I didn't fit it or something. And even if I am heterosexual, why should that bar me from going into a gay club? My lesbian friend wanted to stay and have an argument with the guy on the door about it, but I told her to leave it. We turned around and left and it put a real downer on the evening."

Perhaps if he'd have oiled up, shaved his head and body hair, donned some fake angel wings, hired some portable strobe lighting and gone topless he might have got in. So much for diversity and inclusion in Brighton.

Prejudice and discrimination came up again in our conversation as we talked more. The chap was sitting with a group of people who regularly sit at the back of St Peter's Church on London Road. I explained to him that I had sat here last week with a friend for a while until two community support police officers arrived on the scene with a small blue marquee not unlike that pictured (below, right).

There sat the PCSOs watching the homeless and hostel dwellers of Brighton talking, drinking cans and generally socialising. So, I walked over and asked why the PCSOs had established a small base looking over the affairs of Brighton's poor. They replied that this was a 'hotspot' for 'street-drinking and anti-social behaviour'. They said they know many of the homeless and like many of them but that it was their job to patrol and set up pitch so that no 'anti-social behaviour' was going on.

They admitted that they exercised a certain amount of discrimination. A couple enjoying a glass of wine was different, they maintained, to several people who residents might feel threatened or intimidated by. I responded by asking whether it was right to agree with the prejudices that people hold against the homeless. They said 'perhaps not' but that if they left people alone to do their own thing then there would be arguments and fights.

So, I went back over to the other side of the road and saw George and Diane who were sat away from the party scene. "What's that they've put up, then?" said George, "A beer tent?" George described the police as 'control freaks' concerned only with the image of Brighton. "It's all for the tourists," he said, "but they don't realise they draw more attention to the homeless by pitching up a massive blue tent." Having told me that they exercise restraint and prudence when dealing with 'street people', they then told me that they'd just told the crowd that they had 15 minutes to drink up and go elsewhere. True to their word, a quarter of an hour later they were over to tell the poor to clear off. The poor keep the PCSOs in their job, however, because the next day the exact same crowd gather in the exact same place and the exact same response comes from the police community support officers. It's almost like Brighton is trying to maintain its image by 'dealing' with the fallout from an enormously hedonistic culture. Suffice to say that drugs and alcohol in Brighton are clamped down upon to different degrees depending on your social status.

St Peter's Church, London Road
The chap I talked with today agreed that Brighton is not half as liberal as it makes out. For a town that marks itself out as a 'hotspot' for hedonistic culture, it can be awfully puritan. "I don't know why they're onto the crowd who drink here. After all, its all fenced off. People walk by and they're not hurting anyone."

He said that recently he had been searched by the police for drugs and he assumes it is because he is black, has dreadlocks and hangs around near St Peter's from time to time. "I get it all the time," he said, "People coming up to me and asking if I've got drugs because I'm black and I've got dreads. The truth is I haven't done any drugs for 25 years and have never been a dealer. I'm 45 for Heaven's sake."

The thing about law and rights (from the little I know) is that it is meant to be something universal. It either applies to everyone or it does not, so the idea of discriminating between a couple drinking cava on a blanket in the afternoon sun and a homeless man with some friends seems nonsensical - legally speaking. Anti-social behaviour is in the eye of the beholder. What might simply be inoffensive to one person could have another person in terrible fright because, 'O Heaven's above! It's a group of homeless people congregating. There are more than two of them and some of them have a beer in their hand! Call the police! I'm terrified!'

It goes without saying that on the weekend of Gay Pride, coming up in August, all these street drinking laws are discarded for a gigantic p*ss up and drug fest in Preston Park as cans lay strewn across London Road and the general region for an almighty Council clean up the next morning. Does this make any sense? Well, it makes no moral sense. It only makes financial sense because it brings in tourism and trade. Hey, you know, there might be some people in Brighton who don't feel that comfortable when a massive hoard of homosexuals and lesbians descend upon Brighton in August in scenes which could be construed as some as publicly a little indecent, but those people who object, if they even exist, are obviously bigoted, discriminatory and nurture an irrational phobia of men and women gathering together to get blasted, behave and dress immodestly, congregate in huge crowds and socialise in a very public manner.

Some of the homeless are even on ASBOs which stop them from congregating with a drink in their hand in the company of more than one other person. With all this hullabaloo about making same-sex sexual activity socially respectable or beneficial, I'm sure it wouldn't take a genius lawyer to argue for the right to drink a beer in a public area and congregate with a group of friends in the sunshine outside as a 'human right', but we've moved beyond common sense now because human rights are the State's domain. The State permitteth you to buy a can of lager, but the State taketh away the can on lager if you're homeless and drink it in public.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Mears and Brighton and Hove City Council: A Relationship 'Molded' by Public Money


I've been sent this quite astonishing video by a reader which is worthy of attention and dissemination. You could be forgiven for thinking that maybe this council accommodation could do with some work. Maybe a spot of restoration and the removal of black mold that caused the children living in this accommodation to develop respiratory problems? Well, you'd be right, but the really astonishing thing about this video is not just the appalling conditions of the accommodation but that it was taken by the mother of a woman with 4 children after Mears Group plc had completed their 'work' on the council property.

The family, a mother with her four children in this two bedroom accommodation were moved out of the Hangleton property after repeated complaints by the family and extended family were made to the Council. To its great credit, The Argus newspaper also covered the story of the squalour of the property and their coverage of the shocking conditions of the accommodation may even have assisted the Council's response to the plight of the family.

The family were moved out of the property and placed in temporary accommodation elsewhere. They have expressed, already, the problems of having four children in a two room property, but were prepared to revisit the accommodation to view it after the Mears maintenance workers had done their work in renovating the property.

In the presence of a Council housing manager and a Mears surveyor, the family were shown the accommodation after the work had been done on it. Having watched the video and seen other pictures of the property, my personal assessment is that the black mold that caused respiratory problems to both adults and children in the property requires some more work. Perhaps Mears Group workers and council housing reps can see something we cannot. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is fine, of course, when you're not the one passing through the eye of a needle.

It suffices to say that this shocking video of the neglect of the Mears company of Council property - a neglect for which Mears are in receipt of around £2million of public money every month - might be a source of embarrassment for both the company themselves and the Council which reward them so handsomely for their 'services'. Maybe Mears, a company which, as we know, was floated on the stock exchange in 2005, don't believe tenants - children and adults - are 'worthy' of accommodation better than this. Maybe they are banking on the rest of the public in Brighton, in Hove and beyond to agree with them.

Perhaps they are banking on everyone in Brighton and others beyond being as heartless as they are. Of course, the ones doing the real banking are the shareholders. I wonder what they would make of this video? Companies which lose reputations have been known to lose some shareholders. Wouldn't it be a shame if Mears lost some of theirs? But hey, that's the world of 'risk' capital and surely, surely someone at Mears Group must know that by leaving residents in Brighton and Hove in such squalour there would always come with it a measure of risk that they might one day get found out.

Gradually, slowly, I hope and I pray that more and more people wi#ll come forward to expose the risks Mears have taken not just with their own reputation as a company in receipt of such vast amounts of public money, but also with the health, safety and well being of adults and children in Brighton...and, most likely, beyond.

You might think that this article couldn't get any more absurd. But you'd be wrong. The Council housing manager, Mr Graham Page, has told the mother of four children that this is the property that they should 'make arrangements to return to' after she has viewed it on the 14th of May and that he would be 'dropping the keys back to her on Wednesday'. Not surprisingly, the mother and her children remain in temporary housing and at this time and, as things stand, refuse to return to the property. Can you blame them?

Monday, 14 May 2012

New Steine Mews: Update

I've just heard from Mr Evans that New Steine Mews refused Jason his clothes from his room two days ago because of what I wrote on my blog.

I believe Jason because Jason didn't know I'd written anything on my blog therefore I don't require the 'other side to the story'.

New Steine Mews, however, did know because I sent them links to both of my blogs.

So, they make a man homeless, evict him with none of his possessions. Then, after he's been out in the rain for a few days and he needs his clothes, he goes back to see them to get them and he's told that he cannot have them because someone has written something unpleasant about the near total lack of compassion or empathy the staff there have with the homeless.

If you would like to make known your views on this, feel free to contact the staff at New Steine Mews at:

hostel@nsmhostel.org.uk

...and let your views be known.

Look, I know that Jason can be 'hard work' but talk about kicking a man when he's down. But hey, that's my fault for exercising free speech, isn't it? I guess that's why Our Lord told His disciples to clothe the naked. He knew the State wouldn't think to do it. They can consider it war, then. There must be a way for all of Brighton to know of their wicked treatment of the poor. I'll have a think. Still, its heartening to know that its not just the homeless that the State has it in for, but the disabled as well. Oh, and the elderly. And the unborn.

As someone has kindly commented, out in the world for those to whom law applies, what has taken place is theft. For those consider themselves above the law of both God and man, what has taken place is just revenge because if you're poor, or homeless or without power or status in this World, your rights mean nothing.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Cruel Hypocrisy of Brighton Hostel Workers

Jason two years ago...
Just recently I have been struck by the indifference and hypocrisy of some of the hostel workers in Brighton. In particular, New Steine Mews appears to be quite a case in point.

Jason Evans, now homeless once more in Brighton has some pretty stinging words to say about his experiences resulting in his eviction from New Steine Mews, the 'Place of Change' in Brighton.

According to Jason, the reason for his eviction is as follows:

Jason was in the reception talking with one of the staff members of the hostel. For some reason or another, the particular staff member is alleged to have called Jason an 'Arabic bastard'. Not being one to always turn the cheek, Jason, in response, called the staff member a 'Spanish bastard' in return. Jason maintains that later in the evening the two men shook hands and were able to overcome whatever mild altercation they had had earlier.

'Big deal', you might be thinking and I'd agree with you. But it is a big deal to New Steine Mews and it is now a bigger deal to Jason because he's sleeping out in the pretty awful damp and rain of May, the month, incidentally, of Mary the Queen of Heaven. Having shook hands with the staff member and patched things up, Jason was informed the next day that he was to be evicted. He claims that he wasn't given an actual reason for his eviction - he just assumes that the above story is the reason.

New Steine Mews workers, for homeless hostel workers, appear to lack any compassion or heart in their dealings with the homeless. Jason was evicted without being able to collect any of his belongings. He now stands around in the rain with all that he has, which is the clothes that he stands in. He isn't allowed back on site to collect any of his belongings - a coat - or any blankets or bedding. He has no sleeping bag. He didn't like New Steine Mews. In fact, I am yet to meet anyone who has anything good to say about the 'Place of Change', but, that said, it was a roof over his head.

It is about time that more people in Brighton realised that homeless hostels like New Steine Mews are one of the primary reasons why homelessness perpetuates itself in Brighton. The homeless, in the eyes of the Council and of their hostels have no actual rights. If they are deemed to have 'overstepped the mark' in any way, they are slung into the street in whatever they are wearing.  The homeless aren't cared for - in fact - it is almost as if they are merely exploited by the hostels system so that local government agencies or private agencies can reap a whirlwind of housing benefit payments.

Jason's keyworker, a woman called Dawn, expressed shock that Jason had been made homeless again, having noted how 'well he was doing' in his behaviour and in meeting various appointments that Jason had to attend. For me, what is shocking about Jason's treatment is the total lack of regard that the Council - and its workers - has for Jason's human rights - the right to shelter and the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Of course, these ideals may not be held up for Jason, but we know that just as in Animal Farm, 'some people are more equal than others'.

Take, for instance, one resident of New Steine Mews, a transgender man who dresses like a lady. He still has his essentials, so I am told, but I am informed that this person, who biologically speaking, is still a man, lives on the women's block of New Steine Mews. His rights appear to be greatly respected. So respected, in fact, that I am informed that his behaviour, which is regularly abusive and threatening is overlooked just as frequently. I was told that the individual recently threw his crutches at a member of staff at reception. This is, I think you would agree, an act of violence against a member of staff - not something Jason has been accused of - and yet his treatment by New Steine Mews seems to be rather more protective and understanding than is Jason's. It seems to me that all Jason has to do is say the wrong thing at the wrong time - this time under provocation by a member of staff - and he is told to sling his hook and sleep in the cold and rain.

The hypocrisy of New Steine Mews is cynical and double-edged. Firstly, the staff don't care what happens to those who walk through the door or those who they sling out of it. Their actions, their prejudice and their neglect of those in their care makes an absolute mockery of their supposed objective of creating a 'place of change' or of protection for those vulnerable homeless adults in their care. Secondly, from what I've been told, the staff treat different homeless residents differently and according to different criteria, so that some are protected in the name of 'equality', but there is no 'equality' of treatment for their residents. I guess its just an LGBT thing. Indeed, 'some are more equal than others'.

If anyone reading this wants to buy Jason a sleeping bag, then email me as I personally don't have much money at the moment. It's soaking wet outside but New Steine Mews don't appear to care too much about Jason's fate.


'‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

I'll leave New Steine and the Council to look at that quote in case they don't know its author. New Steine Mews seem quite adept at trying to sort out the 'sheep from the goats' at their hostel. We who believe in true Justice - rather than the reckless kind of arbitrary justice distributed by mankind - know that in the End, the scales of Justice will fall in favour of the poor, the weak, the discarded and abandoned in this World and against those who oppressed them. Ultimately, no human law, bar those of the human rights court in Europe can ensure that Jason is treated humanely and with dignity. It really is a matter of human conscience and at New Steine Mews, conscience is not the order of the day. No. At New Steine Mews, the order of the day is Equality...for some, but not for others.

And here's a funny thing about New Steine Mews. They don't actually like it when someone tells the truth in public about their hostel. They get worried. The last time I wrote about Jason's eviction from New Steine Mews on The Eye of a Needle, I sent an email to them with the link. They read and not a week went by before Jason had been strangely rehoused with them. I don't claim any credit for that - I put that down to an answer to prayer from God thanks to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. On his eviction, Jason asked a member of staff for my telephone number as I am Jason's 'next of kin'. Jason doesn't have family. He has friends. The staff member refused to give it to him because 'he (that is I) wrote nasty things about us'. So a staff member wouldn't give Jason my number even though Jason had asked the staff member to keep it as a next of kin number should anything bad befall Jason. This is Jason's 'data' and the staff won't give it to him! Why? Because I might publish something nasty about New Steine Mews?!

Well, it looks like that decision didn't work out too well now, did it? The way you treat the homeless is abysmal - a scandal - and those that I know who live or have lived at New Steine Mews tell me on a regular basis. Few residents respect you because it is obvious you don't respect them.


Monday, 26 March 2012

Brighton and Hove City Council and Mears Group: A Perfect Partnership

This is the handiwork and Council house maintenance work of Mears. I took these photos recently.

Let me know what you think of their work.

A woman I know was recently moved here by the Council...


Nice touch! Welcome to your new home, with kind regards from Mears Group!

Sorry the place is a dive, because, frankly we couldn't be arsed with it but enjoy a cup of tea in one of our mugs!

Also, here's a brown paper bag in case you vomit once you realise how much money we're making out of this business! Crap decorating, great mugs! Or are the real mugs the poor people who have to live in accommodation maintained by Mears and the people of Brighton and Hove whose Council tax money is going to these cowboys?


Damp extraction?  What, even the weekend before she moves in? Yes! See, at Mears, they really care for their clients! Even though the company grosses huge profits annually, you get a good return because they are prepared to even extract damp out of walls before you move in! Days before!

Novel use for a Council wheelie bin...

'Did you say these guys also do Social Care?' I hear you cry.

Yes! Yes, I did!

See the attention to detail that the Mears boys go into to keep the customer satisfied!

Oh, but the customer isn't the tenant, no, its the Council, and they've already given the Mears the £200 million contract, so, actually, let's not bother with finishing the walls...

Lovely. A dream home. Or is that nightmare? Still, its only a council tenant so let's not bother to paint the walls or remove the existing wallpaper. Let's leave it somewhere in between!

She lives on a pittance on benefits so let her sort out the carpet and decorating. Maybe the local SVP will help.

Nice work, boys!

Sumptuous decorating. Interior decor that anyone would be proud of.

The Mears boys are well worth the local authority's massive expenditure.

What is that expenditure?

Wait for it...

It's £2 million a month! What a snip! These Mears boys are well worth the money! Great job!


Beautiful isn't it?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'When can I move in?'

Poor? Need accommodation in Brighton? Well, Brighton and Hove City Council have just the place for you, all courtesy of Mears, the firm that just loves to give back to the community...unless you're poor, that is. "Oh well, they're only poor, eh? Nobody's interested in what the houses of poor people look like anyway...right?"


Two tone floor-boards? Something old, something new. Like it!

Hmm...interesting. This is like 1970s British home mixed with a flavour of the Med. Or is it Moroccan-inspired?

Whatever it is, its fantastic!











Of course, this is an exception to the rule. Mears usually provide an exemplary service to the Council and their tenants. This is evidenced by video footage I took of the last place at which the occupier of this property lived. She had someone come round to examine it before she left. They told her that they suspected it had subsidence and that it could fall down any day. Still, that won't stop the Council moving someone in now that the previous tenant has been 'upgraded' to better accommodation, also maintained by Mears Group. 'Mears: Making people smile.'  That's their company motto!

I fear Mears will not be smiling when they see this video below and the images above...



Of course, the tenant could have decorated the last place herself with help from friends, or she could decorate the new place too, but, perhaps after having had five children taken into care by social services because she is 'drink dependent', maybe, at some point, she just lost the heart to decorate. And no, its not the same person that I talked with last night.

Five children, all removed by the State and taken into care. Now, that's what I call another victory for women's rights. Where are all the feminists when women really need them? Actually, where's The Argus when you really need them?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Dealing with Lazarus


For quite a long time, I used to see a young man from our soup run sleeping at the back of the Church of Christ the King (CCK). In an alcove, he placed some cardboard boxes and would sleep there at night. I wondered to myself whether the regulars at CCK responded to him with Christian charity and love.

Then, a week or two ago, I noticed something incredibly strange. A wired, metal, grill had been erected where he once slept. It appears that this is how seriously CCK, who feed the homeless on Monday evenings, actually take the Gospel, when it comes to actually 'dealing with Lazarus'. I know that the Church of Christ the King, the evangelical Protestant community, take 'converting' people very seriously. I know how dedicated to the Bible they are. I also know that the church, undergoing some exterior work in the daytime, has a lot more money than most churches in the area could dream of. I'm just wondering whether they've read the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Maybe its another area in which Protestant Evangelicals believe that Our Lord was only speaking metaphorically or 'symbolically'. This picture, to me, speaks volumes!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Steine Mews: A Place of Change

A friend called Jason has been evicted from New Steine Mews in this the Octave of Christmas. In fact, he was evicted on New Year's Day.

Part of the problem with Jason, well, in fact a great deal of the problem with Jason is his alcoholism and the 'anti-social behaviour' which is left in its wake. I've known Jason for quite a few years and I will not lie about him.

One day you see him and he's very likeable indeed. The next day you see him and you want to throttle him, so it is not the case that I have no sympathy with the staff at New Steine Mews.

However, one would have thought that what with all the specialist training staff undergo in the homeless sector of how to deal with 'vulnerable persons' with both substance misuse problems and mental health issues, staff at New Steine Mews would know how to deal with Jason. However, after what appears to be a series of anti-social behaviour incidents at New Steine Mews, Jason was evicted and sent into the cold and rain of January Brighton at 11am on New Years Day. This event of eviction seems to happen about every few months, Jason is kicked out and then a few months later he is welcomed back to New Steine where the same events occur.

Whatever New Steine Mews is, it is not a place of change, as its website claims. It is ran by Brighton and Hove City Council, which means that they apparently have a statutory duty to take back those who they evict eventually, and eventually Jason will be placed back there, because that seems to be the only hostel that will take him on, but I was interested to hear a rumour that, allegedly, a third of New Steine Mews is owned by Baron Homes Corporation Ltd. I wonder whether anyone can confirm that for me, as that would be more than simply an interesting footnote to the scandal that is Brighton and Hove City Council's relationship with Brighton's biggest and least ethical 'tramp-farming' landlord.

Jason claims that his eviction, just like the last time, occurred at a weekend because different staff are on duty at weekends and perhaps they are less tolerant of Jason. I can't say whether that is true or not. All I know is that I know Jason to be a 'challenging' person and a 'vulnerable person'. I know that Jason can be, at times, a very anti-social person indeed, but I know of no action so anti-social as to summarily kick someone out of their room onto the street and into the cold and rain because their behaviour is 'intolerable'. We are always told in modern society that we must be tolerant of different people. We must be tolerant of homosexuals, lesbians, transgendered people, bisexual people, people of different races and ethnicities and religions. Ostensibly, tolerance is a Council mantra, so much so that equality and diversity legislation is wired into every institution and item of legislation that comes from Parliament. We seem to tolerate everything but 'anti-social behaviour'.

This seems to be a feature of modern British life and certainly Brighton's hostels system. At any one time, it seems, men and women are being evicted from hostels for their behaviour by staff who have been trained specifically to, you know, work with homeless people, but when the tenant's behaviour doesn't change, the model for addressing the problem doesn't seem to be a sober committee with the guilty party, but instead a rather cruel and unmerciful slinging onto the street, whereby the guilty party can reflect on his actions in the bitter winter cold with not even a sleeping bag to keep him warm at night.

Oh, but don't worry about him, because, sooner or later the 'Rough Sleepers Workers' will find him, discuss his options with him, encouage him to quit drinking and eventually, after about 3-10 weeks of sleeping in the cold, place him back in the same hostel where history can repeat itself in the 'Place of Change'. I called New Steine and asked them about Jason:

"Oh, we've tried working with him to get him to change his behaviour but he doesn't," said the receptionist.

Hmm. Interesting. Have, I wonder, the staff of New Steine Mews and whoever is Jason's keyworker attempted to talk to Jason about what he thinks could happen in order for his behaviour to change? I've no doubt at all that Jason needs detox at Mill View, where he is due to go hopefully soon, but I believe that a part of the problem with Jason is that he has absolutely nothing to do. Do the staff workers know that Jason is (apparently) a qualified and very competent chef? Perhaps his keyworker could help Jason to access either voluntary or employment opportunities in cookery. He loves cooking and if New Steine Mews really is a 'place of change' perhaps supporting Jason into some kind of vocational work like cookery would really help him. It's a long shot but it might just work. Or, I don't know, maybe the staff at New Steine Mews are just in their jobs for the paycheck and don't really mind too much if Jason, one winter, should just snuff it out in the cold concrete streets of Brighton and Hove or die of pneumonia or get beaten up by a gang of drunken thugs?

To be honest, I understand that 'policies and procedures' have to be followed at New Steine Mews in the wake of incidents that take place, but I do sometimes wonder whether the implementation of these 'policies and procedures' are rather, shall we say, draconian. After all, if the staff at New Steine Mews are going to welcome Jason back in 10 weeks anyway, as is 'procedure' why don't they show Jason some forgiveness, compassion and 'tolerance' and let him back in?

What's the point in an empty warm room if Jason is out in the cold? What has modern Britain come to when a homeless hostel ran by the Council is, at least in part, responsible for causing homelessness in mid-winter? If you're going to do that, why not give him a short sharp shock and kick him out for one night, and then tell him to come back in the morning and discuss things more calmly when he's sober? At least then it would only be one night on the street, which has to be advantageous to 30-40 nights on the street in winter? It all seems a little as if the punishing penance imposed on the sinner is rather disproportionate to the offense. How many pissed up people who didn't live in homeless hostels on New Years Eve woke up the next morning only to be told to get out of their dwelling, take whatever they can grab and go and live on the street? I can tell you I had more than a few and it didn't happen to me.

Unless, of course, there is money in eviction for New Steine Mews or whatever third party may or may not (allegedly) own a third of it. I heard a rumour that every time a tenant is evicted a new tenant has to come in to replace them and that every time a new tenant comes in, as well as the proprietor receiving the housing benefit, they also receive a bigger lump sum in terms of a deposit. I expect rent for New Steine is about £150-£160 a week for that tiny little room of Jason's that I've seen, so the deposit might be around a grand. If what I heard is true, that would be a nice little earner for any proprietor with a stake in New Steine Mews, wouldn't it?

Tell you what. Instead of making Jason sleep outside with not even a sleeping bag this Christmas time, given that eventually you're going to let him back in because of 'procedure', why not just show a little bit of Christmas spirit and let him back in now...or have you rented his room out to someone new already?  In the liturgical season of the Catholic Church, it's Christmastide until the Feast of the Epiphany. Jason knows its Christmas, though I must say he irritated me so much I could have throttled him today. The cheeky blighter was trying to get a tenner out of me today and being filled with the spirit of Scrooge, I told him to p*ss off, but as for the staff of New Steine Mews, the question I want to know the answer to is...'Do they know its Christmas time at all'?