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Kick in the pants 2019

Torbay Council

Earlier this year, Torbay Council sent a homeless woman suffering from mental health issues a horribly patronizing letter by way of refusing a request for accommodation. In doing so they seemed to enjoy putting the poor recipient in her place. The people of Torbay – even those the council looks down its nose at for inconveniencing them by becoming homeless – deserve far better. After speaking to many Torbay residents, we understand that such am attitude has long been an issue. Whoever has allowed such a culture of pompous ignorance to thrive at the council should consider an alternative approach, as should the author of the letter that makes sport out of a desperate young woman’s suffering.

The letter itself, written to explain the decision to not make the woman a priority for housing, meaning she would become homeless, appreciates that she has depression and personality disorders but suggests that she should be “able to cope with homelessness as well as an ordinary person”.

In explaining the decision, which followed an assessment of some kind, the author of the letter wrote: “I accept that the difficulties you experience now would be likely to get worse if you were to remain in the medium or longer term without accommodation."

“However, looking at all the facts, I believe you are resilient enough to manage with a reasonable level of functionality and I’m not satisfied that your ability to manage being homeless, even if that homelessness were to result in you having to sleep rough occasionally, or in the longer term would deteriorate to a level where the harm you are likely to experience would be outside of the range of vulnerability that an ordinary person would experience if they were to be in the same situation as you.”

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