- Police ‘fail to act’ as tenants are illegally thrown out
- Firms make millions out of ‘by the night’ flats for England’s homeless
- London tenants to protest at auction of social flats worth £7.2m
- Secret Facebook page reveals violence at heart of forum for ‘football fans
- Homeless crisis: how the state pays the rich to exploit the poor
- As newspaper apologises for hurtful story, have Bristol’s race views really changed?
Beneath a mound of frozen bedding and clothes, Ramon and his girlfriend Laura shelter from the snowstorm swirling around Bristol’s eerily quiet pedestrianised shopping centre. “We slept here last night,” he says. “It’s cold, but I’ve got six sleeping bags.”
Only the very top of Laura’s head can be seen above the pile of blankets. “She is not feeling very well – she was sick last night,” says Ramon, glancing over at her snow-flecked hair.
The government has been warned by councils, charities and now even its own backbenchers that universal credit is a social policy disaster. But how does it feel to be on the receiving end of this controversial benefits overhaul?
Mohammad Ayaz’s sunken, red-ringed eyes tell a desperate story of night shifts, low pay and poor housing. He hovers nervously outside the room he shares with his wife as police and housing officers check how many others are living in the small terraced house in east London.
“You’ve done nothing wrong,” says Paul Oatt, a housing officer with Newham council. “Landlords who rent a house here have to have a licence, like you have to have a driving licence.”
By Tom Wall
A Bristol-based charity that receives thousands of pounds in housing benefit to accommodate vulnerable people has topped a list of the UK’s most-prosecuted landlords compiled by the Guardian.
Alternative Housing, which was established to provide accommodation for homeless people with addiction problems, has been convicted of housing offences six times over the past two years, after letting properties with problems including overflowing raw sewage.
The company, which is registered with the Charity Commission, was fined a total of nearly £40,000. Over the same period it received £321,000 in housing benefit.
Read more here.
Bristol’s new broom
Britain’s first directly elected black mayor, Marvin Rees, swept to power in Bristol in May. He tells Tom Wall how growing up on a council estate shaped his views and how he will transform his home town.