Posts Tagged ‘Eviction’

The Canary on Lambeth Council Using Psychiatry to Evict Elderly Tenant

March 13, 2016

The Canary has published a piece about how Lambeth council had an elderly resident sectioning an elderly artist, Tony Healy, so they could evict him from his home. This was despite protests from all four parliamentary candidates against moves to remove him. The sectioning was carried out without the knowledge or support of Mr Healy’s own GP.

The Canary writes

An 81-year-old social housing tenant has been forcibly removed from his home in South London, despite public and political opposition. Artist Tony Healy had been fighting against the eviction from his housing co-op, where he has lived for more than 30 years. Until, that is, Lambeth council made an unexpected move: sectioning him under the Mental Health Act.

Lambeth council began eviction proceedings against Healy in 2012. His ‘short-life‘ property is owned by the council, which lets them to tenants for fixed-term periods. However, in 2015 all four Vauxhall parliamentary candidates fought against the eviction of vulnerable tenants from these properties.

Despite this unified political opposition, Healy received another eviction notice dated 5 February 2016. The council then visited him on 2 March to persuade him to move voluntarily. According to Lambeth United Housing Co-op, the council were accompanied by medical health professionals.

On 3 March, Healy received a note saying he would be sectioned. Around 1am on the morning of 4 March he was taken to hospital, reportedly as a result of a second section order. He has also sustained a broken arm and hip for which he is being treated. Neighbours who have visited Healy say “these injuries appeared to have happened accidentally”. Campaigners against Healy’s eviction claim that Lambeth Council officers and bailiffs then tried to seize his house on 4 March, after he was removed. This effort was thwarted by his supporters.

For further information, see http://www.thecanary.co/2016/03/10/council-found-despicable-way-forcibly-remove-elderly-tenants/

The article also has links to a petition against Mr Healy’s eviction. There was also to be a demonstration today on the Housing and Social Care bill, which threatens to exacerbate the shortage of social housing.

This is chilling, because it so closely resembles the political abuse of psychiatry in the former Soviet Union to imprison dissidents in psychiatric wards. It was described by Solzhenitsyn. It’s victims included not just Christians, but also Communists, who genuinely believed that Socialism should represent the poor and ministers and public servants should be accountable to those they govern. It’s another way the politics of the 21st century is becoming more authoritarian as Britain becomes a Thatcherite police state.

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Vox Political: Two More Deaths due to IDS’ Sanctions

March 10, 2015

I’ve already reblogged a piece by Tom Pride reporting the sad death of Julia Kelly, the 39 year old woman who committed suicide after the DWP demanded she repay thousands of pounds in benefit that she had supposedly been overpaid. Mike here gives a few more details of her case, as reported in her local in the Northampton Chronicle.

He also reports another death caused by the DWP, Benjamin Del McDonald, a thirty-four year old man and the father of three. McDonald suffered from severe depression, and also took his own life after the DWP sanctioned his benefits and he was faced with eviction. His case was reported in the Lancashire Telegraph.

Mike’s article is called Two die amid threats of losing benefits and eviction. It begins

Conservative-led Coalition Government welfare policy has led to two more deaths, it has been revealed.

One concerns a man suffering from depression who was living in fear of eviction after his benefits were stopped (no reason was given in the news report), and the other involves a woman whose suicide was allegedly triggered by a DWP letter demanding repayment of £4,000 in disability benefit.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported that the body of 34-year-old father-of-three Benjamin Del McDonald, who suffered with depression, was found last November.

East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor said: “Something must have happened to make him behave the way he did, because He had so much more to live for, especially his relationship with his daughter.

“At the time, his money had been stopped, he had no form of income, and he said he was threatened with eviction from his home – all matters that can play one someone’s mind very much.

“The appropriate conclusion for me today is that while he was suffering from a significant bout of depression, he took his own life.”

The full report is in the Lancashire Telegraph.

In Northampton, 39-year-old Julia Kelly was found to have taken her own life, days after receiving a series of letters from the Department for Work and Pensions including one demanding that she repay £4,000 in Employment and Support Allowance payments.

She had faced three tribunals in a bid to keep her benefit, and her family “firmly believed” the stress caused by the DWP over her claim was what “triggered” her suicide.

A statement by her father, David Kelly, said: “We firmly believe the letter from the DWP was the trigger for her actions. Not to be believed by the DWP that she was suffering chronic back pain and also to be accused of wrongdoing and be told her payments might be stopped – we believe she snapped and could not take it anymore.”

The complete article’s at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/03/06/two-die-amid-threats-of-losing-benefits-and-eviction/.

This is another two tragically wasted lives to add to the bloody list of others, who’ve been murdered by Ian Duncan Smith, the vicious incompetent pouring out his hate and contempt towards the very poorest in our society. A few years ago I reblogged a piece by Stilloaks on his Facebook page listing the 45 people, who died in poverty, hunger and despair due to Smith’s wretched sanctions. Ms Kelly and Mr McDonald are just the latest in a long line of people, who’ve taken their lives since that list was compiled. I’ve literally lost count of what the number is now. Mike in another post on the deaths of two homeless men within the same number of weeks of each other at Ashton-Under-Lyme has suggested that the real figure may be as high as 52,000 a year.

But we won’t know, but IDS has declared that the figures won’t be released until after the election.

This is a tacit admission that he knows how damning the information will be, and doesn’t want it coming out to scupper his party’s chances of winning.

As for the bland statement the Jobcentre made in Ms Kelly’s case, stating that it was necessary to require the repayment of excess benefits, this is decidedly dodgy. Mr Pride has pointed out that if it was that straightforward, why was the case taken to three tribunals. It looks very much like either Kelly was entitled to the money, or she really couldn’t repay it and the DWP didn’t want to accept this.

The result: death.

This cannot be allowed to go on. The Tories need to be kicked out now, and the evidence of their persecution of the poor presented loudly and clearly, so that they cannot weasel out of it, or try to exculpated themselves with bland words and glib soundbites.

The Face of the Homeless from 100 Years Ago

May 7, 2014

Eviction Pic

I found this photo from the one of the history books I have lying about the house. It’s of an old woman evicted from her house, with her possessions piled into the street from sometime before the First World War. It’s from the W.H. Smith History of the World: Vol 2 – The Last Five Hundred Years (London: Hamlyn 1984), p. 517. The caption for the photo reads:

An old woman evicted from her south London home just before the First World War: by now old-age pensions and the national insurance scheme had laid the basis of the welfare state, but few municipalities recognized a duty to house their citizens.

This is the reality of what existed before the introduction of council housing. And it’s what is returning to Britain again with the introduction of IDS’ ‘bedroom tax’, inflationary house values that only benefit the buy-to-let market, and the construction of ‘affordable housing’, which is still well above many people’s ability to purchase.

We can’t let them get away with it.