Just fix the problem

Reported by Paul

Published on Monday, September 21st, 2020

Covid 19 Human Rights Welfare Benefits

Just fix the problem

Written by Paul

Published on Monday, September 21st, 2020

Covid 19

Human Rights

Welfare Benefits

By Paul Atherton FRSA

Just fix the problem. That’s what I would say to people who are in power and genuinely want to end Homelessness.

As I struggle, trying to “Move On” with ill-educated Council staff trying to prove I was made intentionally homeless 9 years after I first approached them with all the evidence to prove that wasn’t the case, it’s clear that they are not interested in helping whatsoever.

It becomes obvious too that the law isn’t designed to help the homeless either.

Why isn’t the default, believe the person. Why is the person absent of a home presumed to be guilty of some form of deception and has to prove their innocence.

The law says, your homelessness begins from the departure of your last Settled Residence, but doesn’t define what the term “settled” or “residence” means. This allows council workers to interpret this in any manner they like.

That’s extremely poor law.

It should be explicit what it is, not vague or even interpretable. It makes decision making subjective and not objective, as it should be.

Politicians and law makers need to rethink this, their end point should be “end homelessness”, and in that way they can reverse engineer their processes from that goal to the homeless person.

This would eradicate all the stupid bureaucratic nonsense that prevents people from resolving their own problems.

Housing Benefit should be able to be used for any accommodation.

Why for instance, am I allowed to claim Housing Benefit to live on a boat, but not in a camper van or a caravan? Why will they only pay for the mooring of a boat if it’s a residential mooring (insanely expensive) as opposed to non-residential (very cheap)

Why can’t I use my Housing Benefit to pay for Hotel accommodation as a home?

In a world where 6 months is considered a tenancy with no protections there after, nearly ALL alternatives to a tenancy offer better protections, longer tenure and better security.

Homelessness means you’re absent of a home… not a property.

A home can be anything you call it

The approach to the homeless for Covid19 proved my thinking perfectly.

The approach was get “Everyone In” the bureaucracies were thrown out of the window, the questions weren’t asked. If you said you were homeless, you were and accommodation was found.

Why we’ve got to return the nonsensical process that proved utterly worthless for decades is beyond me.

But that’s what’s happening all over the country.

It’s time to stop doing what’s been proven not to work and start doing what’s been proven to be superbly effective.

As I began, I’d tell the country’s decision makers to… Just fix the problem!

Written by Paul

Paul Atherton FRSA is a social campaigning film-maker, playwrightauthor & artist. His work has been screened on the Coca-Cola Billboard on Piccadilly Circus, premiered at the Leicester Square Odeon Cinema, his video-diary has been collected into the permanent collection of the Museum of London, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was selected as one of the London Library's 2021/22 emerging writers during covid lockdown, where he is currently writing his memoir.

He achieved most of this whilst homeless, an ongoing experience that has been his life for over a decade in London. In the last two years he’s made Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 his bedroom and became part of what he coined the #HeathrowHomeless before being moved into emergency hotel accommodation for the duration of Covid-Lockdown in Marylebone on 3rd April 2020.

In the past ten years he’s experienced every homeless initiative that Charities, Local Authorities and the City has had to offer. All of which clearly failed.

With the end of “Everyone In”, Paul has no idea where his next move is going to be, but he expects he’ll be returning to Heathrow.

Read all of Paul's articles


Covid 19 Human Rights Welfare Benefits