Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Housing Advice

Category Archives: Housing Advice

How to deal with anti-social behaviour in housing? Anti-social behaviour is behaviour which is capable of causing upset or annoyance to individuals or the wider community. Anti-social behaviour in housing is a common problem that many people experience at some …
Anti-social behaviour is behaviour which is capable of causing upset or annoyance to individuals or the wider community. Anti-social behaviour in housing is a common problem that many people experience at some point. Even though individuals who face this problem often feel powerless to deal with it, this article will bring to your attention some of the support on offer and the action you can take.
What can be done to deal with anti-social behaviour in housing?
In order to take action, it is first necessary to ascertain who is responsible for the anti-social behaviour and whether the behaviour is unintentional or deliberate. Secondly you need to establish whether the activity is criminal or not and whether the police should be informed immediately. Thirdly, finding out who is responsible for the area and housing where the perpetrators live, will determine who you can turn to for assistance.
Taking Action Yourself
§  Find out if you have a tenants association in your area. They may be able to intervene, particularly if the behaviour is affecting other people in the locality. To find out more about the tenant associations in the area where you live, please follow this link.
§  If you wish to take legal action, you may start a criminal prosecution in court to have the perpetrator fined or imprisoned.
§  You may also resort to legal action if you wish to have an order imposed to stop the perpetrator continuing with their behaviour and/ or to file for compensation. This would involve filing a civil action in court.
If you are considering taking legal action you will need the help of an experienced adviser, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
§  If you do not wish to take legal action but want the behaviour to stop, a mediation scheme might be a good idea. Mediation is usually free and is an informal process in which a neutral third party helps two or more people in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable solution.
To search for a mediator in your area who could help, visit the Directory of UK Mediation
The Police
Where anti-social behaviour includes criminal activity (violence, drug related activity, racist abuse), the police should be notified immediately. You can find details of your local Police and how to contact them here.
Social Landlords
Social landlords include local housing authorities, councils and housing associations. Unless the problem is a criminal one, then the social landlord should be contacted first. The social landlord is expected to publicise how to go about making a complaint and details should be readily available from the housing office or the landlord’s web-site.
Private Landlords
Private landlords are private individuals or companies who own property that is independent of the local authority or housing associations. Private landlords have the power of the tenancy agreement to tackle anti-social behaviour in their properties and can evict tenants who are found in breach. If a landlord refuses to tackle anti-social behaviour in their property then there are various enforcement measures which can be applied by the local authority. Information on these measures can be found here.
Home Owners
People often think that if a home owner commits anti-social behaviour there is little that can be done to stop it. This is not true as many enforcement mechanisms such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs), ASBOs, Parenting Orders/Contracts and injunctions are available regardless of whether the perpetrator is a home owner or not. Follow this link to find out what action you can take in this situation.
Other Support
Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator
Every area of England and Wales also has a local Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator, specifically in place to help tackle local anti-social behaviour. To find out who your local co-ordinator is and to contact them, follow this link.
This article has been published in Issue 5 of Action for Social Integration’s Community Advice E-Newsletter, August 29th 2010

Are you in debt and unable to pay your home rent? How to deal with “rent arrears”?
Rent arrears” is a legal term to describe a situation where you have failed to pay your home rent on time. Allowing for a debt to amass could easily turn into a serious problem, eventually leading to losing your home. This is why it is important to contact a legal adviser and take an action immediately!

When dealing with “rent arrears” it is important to first find out what the type of your tenancy is: it will determine how and in what time frame your debt needs to be tackled, as well as what your landlord`s actions could be if you fail to re-pay it. To help you with this, the housing charity organization Shelter has introduced its online Tenancy Checker service which allows you to easily identify your tenancy type by answering just a few questions.

You might find it helpful to start by making a plan of action: decide exactly how you are going to clear your dept and the different steps you will take in doing this. In order to find out what the best repayment method for clearing your “rent arrears” could be, we would suggest that you introduce yourself with the National Debtline`s “Options for Paying Back Your Debts”. It will help you choose a repayment method depending on the type and size of your dept. Alternatively, for a one-to-one discussion with an adviser call the National Debtline`s FREE phone: 0808 808 4000 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9.30am-1pm)

For a free, confidential and impartial advice on dealing with “rent arrears”, you can call the Shelter Housing Advice FREE phone: 0808 800 4444 (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm), or visit Shelter`s web section on “rent arrears”. If you decide to contact Shelter by phone, ask to be directed to a legal adviser who can tell you what arrangements you can make with your landlord.

! Remember that you shouldn`t and cannot be evicted for “rent arrears” without a court order.
! Remember to always write down and have a copy of all agreements you make with your landlord.
Web advice point on “rent arrears”:
“Dealing with rent arrears?”
 Access by clicking on this link.
“What to do if you have “rent arrears”?
Read by clicking on this link.

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Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.