After having put complaints in over the past 3-4 years (depending if you count complaints prior to my home being reposessed by the housing association) and constantly being ignored, recieving responses from different departments and districts to I sent messages to, with heavily delayed responses and despite asking for messages to be forwarded to correct departments and for a direct email for the correct department because the ones listed on birmingham city councils website themselves proved fruitless I was forced to involve the ICE and LGO as well as mp’s to get the situation sorted.
Having filed ICE and LGO complaints last year (where they stated they would have to wait for official final responses, which never arrived or constantly arrived from incorrect departments despite every effort to contact the correct departments and asking for responses from the correct departments) I have been forced to involve local and westminster MP’s in the situation to investigate, and it is only because of thier pressure as well as the ombudsmen actually taking on the case now that significant efforts have been made constantly over the past 3 years after losing my home, and significant time since messaging the ombudsmen to investigate and thier own attempts to contact the correct departments for a final response that I have finally recieved a response from the benefits department of the birmingham city council.
This response clearly states that payment should have always been in place and I should never have had to resort to filing a new claim in september 2011, which was only filed because efforts by myself and family housing association to get due benefits into payment were proving fruitless and contacting the correct department, providing proofs both postally and directly to the office were doing nothing, and emails and phone calls to sort out the situation were proving fruitless, it was hoped this fresh application would get the housing benefit into payment; especially as in august 2011 investigations had been completed after providing all of the requested proofs and my benefits were reinstated (yet housing benefits remained unpaid)
In september 2011 the new benefits application was accepted, with provided proofs, and yet actual payment of housing benefits remained unpaid, constant attempts by myself and family housing association were ignored and went unresolved, and family housing association began reposession of my home in september, ultimately reposessing it in the begining of january during the period while the job center and council were closed for the christmas period. Forward to the 17th of february 2012 a whole 6 months after the filing of a fresh application (which they note themselves was not required to get housing benefits paid, yet clearly was due to thier non payment) they paid PART, not all just part of the housing benefits due, only backdated to that claim, almost a whole 2 months after my home was reposessed and I was forced to stop attending jobseekers to an inability to look for work with no stable home and being scared to leave the house for being locked out of it while I attended the jobseekers as they would know when my sign on dates were to lock me out as they had sucessfully filed for reposession in the courts.
None of this would have happened if the council had paid the housing benefits that were due, on time without delay (8 months of delays essentially) I would still have my home, all of my posessions, had been able to look for work and sign on, yet despite all of this they deny being responsible for me losing my home and everything, and three years of my life as they “lose” housing applications, forwarded proofs and more to attempt to get back to birmingham and my life, and also asking unreasonable proofs of where you’ve stayed temporarilly on sofa’s and clearly could not have bills and registered bank statements at very temporary accommodations and other excuses to simply avoid putting right what they’ve done wrong.
Still they send a message stating they will arrange an interview to put me on the housing register, which now almost a month later, and despite sending another email asking why this has been delayed no interview has been made, and I remain off the register as they unreasonably delay further where I should really just be given a place back in birmingham as I never should have lost my home in the first place, and would not have if they had simply paid the housing benefits that were due, and constantly chased for from myself and family housing association to get into payment which was actually due, and they admit should have been paid.
Now they have offered compensation… yeah “compensation” of £250 for losing everything you own (valued far higher) all the stress and discomfort, three years of your life and being unable to look for work stuck arguing with them trying to get back to birmingham and get this sorted, not really an adequate level of compensation is it.
Quite frankly I’m getting sick of the way they think they can treat people, and something needs to be done. The entire council needs to be fired and replaced by competent individuals who aren’t scumbags, and they need to stop treating people like this as I’m not alone in this, and only by speaking up and being heard can we prevent this happening, and by voting for someone who isn’t going to be scummy towards those unlucky enough to not be able to find work despite trying.
If you’re in a similar situation speak out and be heard, especially now they’re under investigation, get your voice in, get your case heard and get this situation changed for everyone.