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Harlow Council criticised for two month delay for temporary housing for woman

News / Fri 5th Aug 2022 pm31 03:19pm

A HOMELESS woman who experienced “relationship problems” was kept waiting two months for temporary accommodation by an Essex council, according to a local government watchdog reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman criticised Harlow Council for delaying asking for evidence about the woman’s medical circumstances after she had applied for housing.

An Ombudsman report says the woman, referred to as Miss X, “experienced problems with her housing due to relationship problems” and applied to the council for housing in March 2020 because she was homeless.

But the Ombudsman also cleared the council of fault over several other of the woman’s complaints, including that the property she was moved into was unsafe. In a statement, it said Miss X had a home available to her while enquiries were being made.

A spokesperson for Harlow Council said in a statement: “We have apologised directly to Miss X for the delays and did make a payment of £200 for the distress this may have caused her.

“We accept that in this case we were at fault when we delayed asking for evidence about Miss X’s medical circumstances. As a result, this delayed the provision of suitable housing for her.

“Miss X did have a home available to her whilst we made our enquiries. With every complaint that we receive we review our processes to ensure that any issues are not repeated in future.”

According to the report, Miss X submitted a medical form in August 2020 but was not asked for supporting information until the end of November. The council accepted the full homelessness duty towards housing her in December. In July 2020, she had moved to a different property with her partner.

According to the report, Miss X also complained to the Ombudsman that the council had not followed its allocations policy. She complained it had not taken account of her needs in relation to her current accommodation, because it is located in one of her red areas and had no working secondary exit due a damaged rear gate. Miss X says she has not been offered housing that was appropriate or safe, the report continues.

However, the Ombudsman did not find fault with the council for these complaints, saying it followed its allocations policy by placing her into band two priority.

The report says Miss X inspected her current property location and accepted it and that the council repaired the rear gate in six weeks, so it could be used as an escape route. There is no evidence there was any threat to Miss X during this time, according to the report.

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1 Comment for Harlow Council criticised for two month delay for temporary housing for woman:

Jerry
2022-08-06 12:45:01

My son was homeless and the councils answer to him was we cannot help you ! So much for all the equality nonsense they always come out with !

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