09 August, 2007

How to become homeless in one easy lesson

It is so easy to become homeless. All it takes is one bad decision and bang you're on the streets wondering what to do next. When I ask people what they think about homelessness. The most common answers are it's their own fault or there's no need for them to be homeless as there are places for them to go. This maybe true in both cases but imagine you are having problems, say you are drinking all day long and the place you live in has become a drinkers hovel. You get drunk one day and suddenly decide to move and try to better your life. So you move to another city with no thought as to whats going to happen to you. That first night you might spend just walking the streets of the new city you're in, still with the good intentions but when those nights turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months. It's only then you discover you're problems haven't decreased in fact you have just added problems because you are still drinking you have given up your home and are now living on the streets getting by with hand outs. All because you made a bad decision. Now you want to get off the streets and really try to make a new start but all the hostels are full or you can't get a place in a detox centre for a few months. You begin to give up. Imagine it's four years later. The drinking is now out of control. You are still sleeping on the streets and looking much worse for wear because that day you left you're home with all those good intentions has turned into a nightmare but there is still that idea that you can change but it becoming more and more difficult to do as you are getting much worse and the life you lead now has become away of life. It's that easy to become homeless.

08 August, 2007

Still no joy

Well would you believe it after various government departments say things are going smoothly if you take into account the amount of people claiming their various benefits but, isn't this government saying there are less people now on benefits. Yet here I still am trying to get a crisis loan and still my new benefit office has not sorted my new claim. I am now at my wits end after ten days of phoning my local job centre to get the appointment. What do I do next, that is the question? Do I sit on a city centre street and beg as one social security officer told me a few years ago.
I still have not heard from any MP yet and I would clearly like to have a conversation on benefits and their accessibility and why new rules job seeking now seem to have gone haywire as you can now be an escort.
The fact of the matter is because government officials haven't really been unemployed and the people that make up these rules for getting benefit just don't have a clue as to what people really need. When this government got elected, it was modernisation that was their goal. They intended to modernise the NHS and the welfare state but all they have succeeded in doing is to make life more difficult for the most needy in our society. It shows clearly that the gap between the rich and poor is now widening

01 August, 2007

PART 2 System not working

I was at it again today trying to find out how many people are suffering hardship due to different offices and their various operating systems for people who need urgent help. I went to three offices across London but it was much the same as yesterday. People were having to wait forever trying to get through to the loan departments. One man had been trying for ten days and was now at his wits end. When he complained to the manager all she could say was sorry but you'll have to keep on trying. Some were just being told come back and try again tomorrow. At the Bexley heath office (my office) I still couldn't get through to the apply for a crisis loan. When I complained I was told to speak to my local MP on the matter. They admitted that there were problems with the system and due to the volume of calls there wasn't anything they could do but when I suggested that any one signing on who has not received a payment should be given some sort of form to take to the loans department automatically but all they could say is that they were just doing as they were told.
This just seems to me to be passing the buck. I will try to get an MP to comment on this issue sooner rather than later but it just seems to me that we have a social security system that is clearly not working, especially for those that are more disadvantaged than most.
I know it is not right for anyone to wait between three and four weeks to be paid any money especially if you have children but the government say anyone is entitled to receive benefits as long as they fit all the criteria but to not be able to apply for what is known as a crisis loan after you do because it seems that certain stumbling blocks are now being erected. Which cause more hardship. This not the way forward for any government and any government must remember these are the people that vote them into office.

Government system of social security not working

Today I went to my new job centre plus to sign on. I did what I had to but my payment had not been sorted so I tried to make a application for a crisis loan and what do you know I had to make the phone call to make the appointment from the office phones that are there to make phone inquires. After an hour I still couldn't get through to make the appointment and I still haven't been able to make an appointment to make the claim but I wasn't the only one, nine more people tried in the time I was there. They all needed to make claims for crisis loans three of those people had children. I went to another office to see how many people where trying to make claims for crisis loans and guess what the same thing was happening there. This time there where thirty people in the waiting room but you only got seen if you where there by 11 am and it was only the first twenty five people. Tomorrow I am going to another office but from what I gather so far is that we have an emergency system that's definitely not working and I want to find out if this is happening up and down the country. I am one of the lucky ones I have enough gas and electric to keep me for at least another week.
I always thought the idea of crisis loans were for people in urgent need today not tomorrow. so some people are probably without gas and electric and food tonight because the were in urgent need but due to the way different job centres work people are suffering and I am pretty certain that it's not government policy. Obviously as the benefit system creaks and the lack of staffing shortages takes it's toll. The benefits system is fast becoming unmanageable and to top my not being able to get an appointment to get my crisis loan. I was also told by the benefits office that there is a back log of claims and it could be three or four week before I get any money and if you add on the four or five days it takes for them to put it into my account that would be five Weeks. So what can be done and is it illegal to deny someone the right to make a claim for a crisis loan? Because that is what some job centre pluses are doing.