Court Orders and 'Do Not' Orders on the Poor
A friend of mine in Brighton told me very recently that he is having ongoing trouble with his housing association. His housing association will doubtless argue they are having ongoing trouble with him. The ins and outs of his situation are complicated. However, it does seem that, the housing association having taken their issues with my friend to a local court, housing associations, in this instance BHT, can be a little heavy handed with their tenants, or at least, lacking in a sense of compassion or wisdom.
The friend in question has been a difficult tenant at times. Recovering from an addiction, he becomes angry with himself and sometimes shouts at himself. The association have received a few complaints, mostly from one neighbour. The result is a series of white A4 posters which he has been instructed to place all around his flat. It reads something like this:
DO NOT BE LOUD OR USE AGGRESSIVE LANGUAGE IN YOUR FLAT
DO NOT PLAY LOUD MUSIC
DO NOT THROW ANYTHING OFF YOUR BALCONY
DO NOT FEED THE SQUIRRELS OR THE PIGEONS
IF YOU DO ANY OF THESE THINGS YOU MAY BE SENT TO PRISON
Clearly, my friend has been a perpetrator of 'anti-social behaviour'. By all accounts he suffers mental health problems brought on by the suicide of his mother at a tender age. He suffers withdrawal effects from addictions. He drinks to numb his pain and loses his temper, primarily with himself. By a certain time in the evening, I am not sure whether he is even fully conscious of what he is doing. He now feels something of a prisoner in his own home. The actions of the housing trust do not help his feelings of paranoia or persecution by authority. He is an outsider, somebody who does not 'fit in' to society.
He recently took a beating so severe that he was in hospital for a day or two and his face had swollen up and become so disfigured that the day I saw him I swear I had never seen anyone look so much like the Crucified Christ, in my lifetime. Of course, the BHT have to engage somehow with him and so should the social services of the Council. However, it does seem that formal institutions such as these lack a sensitivity to mental health issues and the compassion in order to engage fully with someone in his position. I suppose that these signs are one way in which to inform someone of a problem and to remind them of their tenancy obligations, but it hardly seems fair or just, or reasonable. The most unfair, unjust and unreasonable part of the sign, is, obviously the threat of prison if any of the orders are breached! Outrageous!
Another friend of mine, also in connection with BHT, complained to me that the lady he cares for is allowed to move back to their old flat, from which they were evicted on drugs charges which never were proven, but he is not allowed to. Not only that, but he is not allowed to visit her, should she move back there. They have been living in a B&B ever since eviction. Again, it appears, that there is a distinct lack of compassion towards the poor. He is her carer and has been deemed an 'unsuitable carer' and cannot even visit her. This is totally against her own wishes as their tenant.
Not only that, but she has accrued a debt of over £1000 since eviction, paying for a property at which she was not even allowed to stay. Go figure! I don't know, maybe I'm just too believing of the things I hear...but my gut instinct tells me that neither of them are being disingenuous. So they want to find somewhere with a private landlord...they have the money, but no references. They are an honest couple and I don't think they are exaggerating. I saw the letter from BHT. I know the guy! We dressed up as Father Christmas and went busking last Christmas in the town centre! He didn't even need the beard because he's already got one. He's a gentle soul, but he and his good friend are being hounded by BHT. Say a prayer for them they find somewhere decent to live.