May 18 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
»Fears are growing over emergency homes for victims of domestic violence and crime after a woman staged a sit-in protest at Islington Council’s housing office.
The 40-year-old, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, was the victim of a campaign of intimidation, and risked arrest rather than go back home.
Her family were eventually offered emergency accommodation for seven nights, but were then forced to return to a property where they did not feel safe.
She said: “What we’ve had to go through has been terribly stressful. I know it’s not the council’s fault that the government’s cuts are making it difficult for council staff to do their jobs properly, but staff, especially managers, should still try to help people, and treating them with common decency rather than fobbing them off.
“What’s happening is putting people’s lives at risk.”
In her hour of need she contacted Islington north MP Jeremy Corbyn, who later said: “I strongly ask the council to urgently look after her interests.”
Mr Corbyn said the borough’s chronic overcrowding means he regularly deals with cases where victims of violence and crime struggle to get re-homed. He said: “I spend quite a lot of time trying to persuade housing services to rehouse people. Probably not hundreds of cases but very regularly.
“Due to violence or excessive neighbourhood harassment, people’s lives can be made hell.
“They need to be very aware of the dangers and vulnerability that some people suffer through criminal activity.
“The problem is huge overcrowding so the council is under immense pressure. It’s a constant concern and a very difficult situation.”
Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “With a rising number of emergency homeless applications, it is important that we look sensitively for the most appropriate way of helping people in need.
“As in this case, we carefully consider the personal circumstances of each individual,” he added.