Dear Cathy   Leave a comment

>>> This message was also sent to: Cllr Raj Shah, Cllr Paul Saunders
>>> Pete Um
>>> 8 Argyle Street
>>> Cambridge
>>> CB1 3LR
>>> Email:
>>> Tuesday 14 September 2010
>>> Dear Raj Shah, Catherine Smart and Paul Saunders,

>>> I am writing concerning some housing difficulties I am having as a
>>> separated father whose 9 year old boy lives with me 50% of the time,
>>> and has been doing so in a shared house (in one room) of five other
>>> people (plus partners) since July 2008. I understand that my situation
>>> would see me eligible to be housed by the council in a 2 bedroom flat,
>>> but thus far the council are unwilling to accept that I have equal care
>>> of my son. This is despite me providing all proof that they have asked
>>> for and not being told what proof is sufficient. The situation has been
>>> going on long enough to be too complicated to fully explain here but
>>> suffice to say that I have applied for Band A status under the
>>> Home-Link scheme, been rejected, appealed, sought advice from the
>>> Citizens Advice Bureau, appealed to the Independant Complaints body,
>>> been rejected and am now at the Ombudsman stage. The situation is
>>> dragging on for now for 26 months and I am increasingly desperate for
>>> adequate accommodation and concerned for my son’s welfare and quality
>>> of life. Can I please speak to a councillor in person to discuss my
>>> case?
>>> Yours sincerely,
>>> Pete Um

> On 14/09/2010 15:33, Catherine Smart wrote:

>> Peter,
>> I am sorry but the council policy is as has been explained to you.
>> Because we are very short of houses and have a very long waiting list we can only allow one parent to “count” a child when applying for housing. If we allowed both you and the mother of the child to include the child in an application, the child would be counted twice. That would be unfair on other people who are equally desperate for housing.
>> That is the policy that has been accepted by the City Council.
>> I am sorry, but I don’t think I can help you.
>> Catherine Smart
>> Cllr for Romsey

On 14 Sep 2010, at 20:59, Pete Um wrote:

> Dear Catherine,
> thankyou for getting back to me so promptly. I understand that council housing is in short supply in Cambridge. As there is a finite number of flats and great demand I would not expect to be easily housed. However, according to all correspondence in my various attempts to have my case heard, my applications have been rejected because I haven’t been able to prove that my son stays with me, or that I am not being believed that this is the case (“50/50 staying contact could not be agreed”), rather than because of policy with regards to someone in my circumstances. At no time have I been told that the council cannot house me for the reason you describe. For the record my ex-partner is not actively seeking to be housed by the council either. I am basing my assumption of eligibility for Band A categoristation/a 2 bedroom flat on the fact that in Chapter 5 paragraph 5.6 (“Staying contact with children”) of the Lettings Policy it says “where two applicants have equal staying contact with the children, the children will be counted as part of both applicants household when assessing bedroom requirements.” Since I have provided all information asked for by the assessment team, plus more besides (and in addition repeatedly asked what extra evidence would constitute proof and not be told) my being rejected for this particular reason is very frustrating. In the light of what I have just said, is there any chance you or any of the councillors would reconsider a face-to-face meeting to discuss my case?
> Yours sincerely,
> Pete Um

There is no point me meeting you as I have no decision powers in individual cases.

I will however forward your email and ask them to explain what you need to provide to show that the situation is as you say.

Best Wishes
Catherine Smart

(Obviously I used my real full name in the original correspondence, but I love the way she just starts calling me “Pete” at the end, like: “listen, dickhead”.)

Posted September 21, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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