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Author Topic: Council Housing for Positive People in London  (Read 869 times)

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Offline buffaloboy

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  • Posts: 159
Council Housing for Positive People in London
« on: January 06, 2010, 08:25:45 PM »
I'm currently living in a privately rented houseshare in London, and at my psychologist's recommendation I applied for council housing, as my current situation is really not good for me. He wrote a supporting letter explaining why he thought I needed to be rehoused, and I had appointments with Positive East who helped me fill out the general housing application and medical forms, which come in two separate parts.

My HIV doctor was requested by Positive East to provide a medical report so that it could be submitted simultaneously with the application, however, apparently both requests 'went missing' so the application had to be sent in anyway otherwise, I would have missed the deadline and had to start all over again. I was trying to chase my HIV doctor about this both just before and just after Christmas, but he wasn't in the clinic and I had to leave messages with secretaries.

However, today, I received a letter from my local authority telling me that my medical application form had been now been assessed and that 'no priority' could be awarded. This means that I am now just on the list like everyone else is, and that I could literally wait years to be rehoused.

I've been hospitalised by pneumonia once for a week in 2008, and had subsequent bouts of it ever since, my last CD4 count was 84, I suffer with depression, and have been signed off from lookiing for work (I was not working at the time) until April by my doctor as he considered me to ill to work.

So:

a) are there any other people here who've been able to access council housing, or were you also knocked back? What were your experiences?

b) other than going through the council, are there any other ways of accessing affordable housing so that I can live on my own? I'm really too old to still be housesharing and it's genuinely making my depression about 10 times worse.

I can appeal the current decision within 21 days, which is what I will do but, I have to say, when I read the letter I felt utterly devastated. The people at Positive East that helped me with my application, as well as my psychologist, both felt as if I had a pretty strong case so to say that I now feel disappointed is an understatement.

Any advice, help, experiences would be very greatly appreciated.

Offline Theyer

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  • Posts: 2,066
  • I love buying Furnature.
Re: Council Housing for Positive People in London
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 07:11:32 AM »
Dear Buffaloboy,
As a soon to be ex London resident who has experienced hiv services since 89 i am saddened , but not surprised by your situation, I hope the following may be off some help,
Clarify wether the LA housing dept made the decision on your medical application with or without your docs and physiologists reports.
Contact THT
There was a housing association  for those with Hiv .you can check this with THT and POZ east.I think it was Stonewall HA
KEEP ON KEEPING ON which when you are not depressed is easy to say ,but you need to make it clear that you are not going away meekly accepting there decisions.
Gather all the material together and attend your MP ,s next open surgery making it clear that you are there to enlist there support to directly intervene.---details from your town Hall or library
Good luck and keep us posted,
Theyer
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,260
Re: Council Housing for Positive People in London
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 07:58:19 AM »
Hello BB,

What a lousy situation! Although I don't live in London, one thiing seems fairly true in most countries. Professionals will speak with others at (or near) their levels.

Could your psychologist make a call to your physician to get the text expedited? Further, is there a way in which the psychologist (who is clearly your advocate in this case) could speak directly with someone at the Council in a decisionmaking capacity to avoid the wait of the appeals process?

If it can be clearly demonstrated that the supporting materials from the doctor which were mightily sought, but not included, would have likely made a significant difference----then, perhaps they would allow such an addendum to be submitted rather than a protracted appeals process.

Just a suggestion from afar. But the higher up the ladder the chat can take place, the greater your chances are of cutting down time, and increasing oppotunity for success. Hold the vision of being snug and at ease in your new Council digs.

Em

Offline carousel

  • Member
  • Posts: 821
Re: Council Housing for Positive People in London
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 08:23:14 AM »
The days of getting a flat from the Council as a matter of course for HIV people has gone.  As they considered we would not live very long, it was more straightforward thank it is today.

But that's not to say you won't get one.  I'm not surprised that you are not top priority, but it seems strange that your medical history has not given you any help.

I live in London and was given Band 3 status of 4 Bands by my Council.  Band One being the top priority.  Your medical application will have been dealt with separately to your housing application, as it contains confidential medical information.

It took me 5 years to get a flat.  The Council also lost my forms and I made a complaint.  They denied everything, but because I wrote a letter to back up everything and anything I needed to tell the Council, I was able to evidence it and my claim was backdated.

It was a very stressful procedure to go through, particularly when you are dealing with the fall out from HIV.

They do not make the system easy, but keep going.  I don't think that it will happen fast, but please do get advice and support. 

Just a couple of things.  Does you Council have a Disability Advocacy Service?  They should help you deal with the Housing department and help with any complaint you have.  And secondly, as far as I am aware, you can apply to as many Councils as you want and not just to the one you live in presently.  If I was starting out again, I would certainly do that.








Offline buffaloboy

  • Member
  • Posts: 159
Re: Council Housing for Positive People in London
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 04:48:51 PM »
Thanks for the replies so far.  I have to say, I never thought that I would get a flat just because I'm positive - if that were so, I would have applied back in 2005 when I was diagnosed.  But, my situation in the flatshare has never been very good and then my health took a turn for the worse.

On two occasions I had to call the police because of the way a then flatmate was behaving. She has now moved out, but the point is that you never know who will move in and what you are going to have to put up with until it's too late. Just before Christmas there was a  massive argument because one of the women here decided she wanted to have her boyfriend stay (who I've never met) for two weeks - as well as two of her friends. I asked her to compromise so that they would stay for a shorter period, but she refused. So basically, my whole Christmas and New Year period was ruined because I had to navigate my way around strangers and I wasn't able to relax at all.  And, you know what? I was the one the one that got called a 'bully'!

It's so stressful and once one thing seems to blow over, then something else erupts. I know it will sound disturbing but I've ended up having incredibly violent thoughts towards my flatmates at times, because I feel they don't want to listen and consider my needs. Or else, I internalise all my anger and have suicidal thoughts as I feel I will be trapped in this situation forever. I'm so drained at having to hide my HIV status all the time and it makes me feel as if I'm living a double life, which is really eating away at me. But I don't get on with anyone here well enough to actually feel able to disclose so, again, I'm feel trapped and stuck.

Anyway, I spoke to I managed to get my doctor to fax over a medical report to Positive East today. Positive East then called me to say they had received it and that it was better than the first one they had from my doctor but didn't really go into enough detail about how my health was being affected by current accommodation. It also failed to mention, importantly, that I'd be hospitalised with with pneumonia for a week in 2008.

I'm now trying to speak to my psychologist (I've left two messages for him now), who works at the same clinic as my doctor, to see if the we can manage to get a better health report out of the doctor, emphasising that he believes my health is dependent on where I live.

I am now meeting with Positive East again next Friday so that we can start the appeal.

'...as far as I am aware, you can apply to as many Councils as you want and not just to the one you live in presently.  If I was starting out again, I would certainly do that.'

To the best of my knowledge, you have to have some sort of connection, like work or residence, with the borough that you are applying to. I was asked to show that I'd been living in my current borough for the last 6 months and for the last 3 years.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 05:01:22 PM by buffaloboy »

 


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