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Family Forced To Live In A Van

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http://www.harlowsta...ck-of-a-van.htm

A YOUNG family claim they have been forced to sleep in a van after being ordered to leave temporary accommodation by Harlow Council.

The Kent familyThe Kent family were staying in emergency housing at The Hornbeams after their family home was repossessed six months ago.

But Martin and Elizabeth Kent, both 31, were told they would no longer receive help from the authority last Tuesday and their only option would be to rent privately.

However, the couple, who have three children under the age of 10, say they cannot afford private rented accommodation because both are in low-paid jobs.

They claim they would have received more help if they had been claiming benefits and have effectively been punished because they are working.

"Renting privately would cost us around £850 per month for a family of five," said Mrs Kent. "We can't afford that; it's more than our mortgage was and we fell behind with that.

"We've been kicked out by the council and we've been punished because we have tried to do this the right way. We would be in a better position if we just gave up our jobs and went on benefits."

The couple's oldest daughter Tiffany (9) has been sent to live with family in Walton for this week while Owen (4) and Lexi (2) are staying with their parents in Mr Kent's van.

Because both Mr and Mrs Kent work, they do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford to get help from a solicitor.

The family home in The Fortunes was repossessed in February after they fell behind with the mortgage payments, but the family moved into temporary accommodation before the bailiffs arrived.

"We went to the council and we were given emergency accommodation," said Mrs Kent. "But they've told us now that they cannot house us anymore because we had made ourselves intentionally homeless by leaving before the bailiffs came.

"We left our house one day before the bailiffs came round to protect our children from that. We didn't know it would affect us later."

Councillor Lee Dangerfield, chairman of the council's housing policy working group, said he could not go into details about individual cases.

However, he said: "This case is currently going through the statutory homeless review process which is an appeal against the council's original decision. A final decision will be made by September 15.

"We treat all cases in accordance with housing law set by Government."

I've seen story's like this in the US, but with the double dipper coming along soon, how much more common is this going to be?

In many ways I am not surprised to see this, only uneasy that it is finally here. There may be more to it in terms of debt / should they have had 3 kids when they couldn't afford them etc, but I still feel for them, and their kids more importantly.

Sad, but inevitable. :unsure:

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Their story doesn't make sense. Even if they're both working, the couple can still claim for Housing Benefit of £850 a month. If they're making too much money to get HB, then where is their income going?

(As an aside, I never realised that you can get HB for more than one husband/wife. According to the DWP website, you can get HB for more than one wife -- though not for your civil partner. Did the folks in New Labour not get the memo about what kind of values they're trying to encourage through the benefits system?)

link: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/technical-guidance/rr2-a-guide-to-housing-benefit/working-it-out/the-family/

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Should have 'lost' their jobs and gone on benefits, they would have been better off. Perhaps more people will take note and not get caught in the same trap.

Sadly yes, both working whilst those who do not contribute get housed.

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Their story doesn't make sense. Even if they're both working, the couple can still claim for Housing Benefit of £850 a month. If they're making too much money to get HB, then where is their income going?

(As an aside, I never realised that you can get HB for more than one husband/wife. According to the DWP website, you can get HB for more than one wife -- though not for your civil partner. Did the folks in New Labour not get the memo about what kind of values they're trying to encourage through the benefits system?)

link: http://www.dwp.gov.u...out/the-family/

They have to have a rent for HB.

and they did the honourable thing of leaving before the bailiffs arrive.

Intentionally homeless....Its a play on words, but Councils view this type of thing as a conspiracy to defraud.

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I wonder why they did one before the bailiffs came? That's what the problem is, they've made themselves intentionally homeless.

Should have gone to one of the debt charities or Shelter.

Beggars me that someone with four litte ones makes such a life changing move without any kind of advice.

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Their story doesn't make sense. Even if they're both working, the couple can still claim for Housing Benefit of £850 a month. If they're making too much money to get HB, then where is their income going?

That's the theory. Practice may be totally different, as happened to me when I fell on hard times a few years back.

Far too little information to determine the rights and wrongs of this story. But we certainly can't rule out the strong possibility that they're being penalised precisely for trying to do a right thing when they'd have been better off playing the system.

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Sadly yes, both working whilst those who do not contribute get housed.

Yep, if it's as black and white as first appears then it is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with our current social safety net.

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Should have 'lost' their jobs and gone on benefits, they would have been better off. Perhaps more people will take note and not get caught in the same trap.

Which is all well and good, but there is a finite number of such people the tax payer can support before the whole scheme collapses and everyone decides they would rather be a taker. Then what happens?

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'with four litte ones' is probably the answer you are looking for, but under that level of stress they maybe just wanted out for the sake of the kids- baliffs are generally not very nice people and I suspect not blessed with great manner. But yes advice from shelter - maybe given but not followed, don't know all the detail but I would say they were at the end of their tether.

Yes, being asked by your dad to answer the door but not let the big shouty men inside is pretty ******ing disturbing for a 10 year old.

/bitter experience mode off

Edited by JimDiGritz

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Their story doesn't make sense. Even if they're both working, the couple can still claim for Housing Benefit of £850 a month. If they're making too much money to get HB, then where is their income going?

(As an aside, I never realised that you can get HB for more than one husband/wife. According to the DWP website, you can get HB for more than one wife -- though not for your civil partner. Did the folks in New Labour not get the memo about what kind of values they're trying to encourage through the benefits system?)

link: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/technical-guidance/rr2-a-guide-to-housing-benefit/working-it-out/the-family/

I never realised they could claim HB if they were working (shows how much I know about current benefits and them too by the sounds of it). Is this some kind of sliding scale?

The more you earn the less HB you are entitled to or do you get the full whack up to a certain point?

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I think the response from the council jobsworth is telling:

However, he said: "This case is currently going through the statutory homeless review process which is an appeal against the council's original decision. A final decision will be made by September 15.

Which decision did the council make? To refuse their claim for HB, or an alternative place to stay?

Also, if you are a homeless family, you will wait a month for a decision. In the meantime, find a park bench... :ph34r:

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I found this rather strange and something didnt add up. Surely with 3 kids (as I do) your 1st priority is to provide a roof over their heads, stuff paying for anything else, stop paying sky, stop paying the credit cards and start shopping at Aldi/Lidl. You make damn sure you pay the mortgage/rent first everything else is secondary.

Ok they are both low paid, I've assumed 37.5 hours a week @ minimum wage £5.80, but if they are earning less then they can claim more benefits.

..............Yearly......monthly....weekly

Gross Pay.....£11,310.00..£942.50....£217.50

Net Wage......£9,728.10...£810.68....£187.08

So I ran their details through the entiledto website see what they could claim.

Means-tested income entitlements

Tax Credits £5,745.25 £110.18 Child tax credit.

Means-tested bill reductions

Council Tax Benefit £286.65 £5.50 Your full Council Tax bill of £38.35 per week will be reduced to £32.85 per week because of your entitlement to Council Tax Benefit. Our calculation is based on you receiving £110.18 from child tax credit.

Housing Benefit £4,632.84 £88.85 We have calculated your entitlement using the Local Housing Allowance rate you entered. LHA rates change every month so please return to the calculator regularly to check your entitlement. Our calculation is based on you receiving £110.18 from child tax credit.

Other income entitlements

Child Benefit £2,455.92 £47.10

Total Entitlements......£13,120.66.....£251.63 weekly

This would give them an after tax + benefits income of £2714.73 per month

Add to that there are 3 bedroom properties availabe on rightmove in the Harlow area in the £750-£800 range.

So my evil baby eating milk stealing tory side say they are intentionaly homeless.

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I found this rather strange and something didnt add up. Surely with 3 kids (as I do) your 1st priority is to provide a roof over their heads, stuff paying for anything else, stop paying sky, stop paying the credit cards and start shopping at Aldi/Lidl. You make damn sure you pay the mortgage/rent first everything else is secondary.

Ok they are both low paid, I've assumed 37.5 hours a week @ minimum wage £5.80, but if they are earning less then they can claim more benefits.

..............Yearly......monthly....weekly

Gross Pay.....£11,310.00..£942.50....£217.50

Net Wage......£9,728.10...£810.68....£187.08

So I ran their details through the entiledto website see what they could claim.

Means-tested income entitlements

Tax Credits £5,745.25 £110.18 Child tax credit.

Means-tested bill reductions

Council Tax Benefit £286.65 £5.50 Your full Council Tax bill of £38.35 per week will be reduced to £32.85 per week because of your entitlement to Council Tax Benefit. Our calculation is based on you receiving £110.18 from child tax credit.

Housing Benefit £4,632.84 £88.85 We have calculated your entitlement using the Local Housing Allowance rate you entered. LHA rates change every month so please return to the calculator regularly to check your entitlement. Our calculation is based on you receiving £110.18 from child tax credit.

Other income entitlements

Child Benefit £2,455.92 £47.10

Total Entitlements......£13,120.66.....£251.63 weekly

This would give them an after tax + benefits income of £2714.73 per month

Add to that there are 3 bedroom properties availabe on rightmove in the Harlow area in the £750-£800 range.

So my evil baby eating milk stealing tory side say they are intentionaly homeless.

shurely shome mishtake.

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shurely shome mishtake.

The original artical says they are both in low paid employment. I tryed to cover that by saying they may be earning less, but if they were the benefits bill would be higher.

2 x £9,728.10 (37.5 min wage job after tax anually)

+

Benefits of £13120.66 (anually)

divided by 12 to give monthly total :D

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The original artical says they are both in low paid employment. I tryed to cover that by saying they may be earning less, but if they were the benefits bill would be higher.

2 x £9,728.10 (37.5 min wage job after tax anually)

+

Benefits of £13120.66 (anually)

divided by 12 to give monthly total :D

thats MORE NETT than the average wage.

Maybe they have savings, maybe they have other debt...clearly, they couldnt pay the mortgage, and that would be with benefit "help".

that figure is just amazing.

Im going to knock Mrs Loo up right away.

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Trouble is you just don't know. Maybe they both have a forty a day smoking habit. some people waste money and don't even try to help themselves. Then again they may be hard working people that do everything right but still end up in this situation. can't really judge from one news paper article.

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Given 300k seem to be on mortgage support schemes, and millions more, many working, on housing benefit, they must be either very stupid and unable to fill out a few forms, or very rude and aggressive, and people cant be bothered to help them.

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The original artical says they are both in low paid employment. I tryed to cover that by saying they may be earning less, but if they were the benefits bill would be higher.

2 x £9,728.10 (37.5 min wage job after tax anually)

+

Benefits of £13120.66 (anually)

divided by 12 to give monthly total :D

you do not how how much they get paid or how many hours they work. and i doubt they are both full time work with 2 young kids, but if they are then child care fees cound be about £800 a month

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Add to that there are 3 bedroom properties availabe on rightmove in the Harlow area in the £750-£800 range.

So my evil baby eating milk stealing tory side say they are intentionaly homeless.

Some might think it was the evil b*stards who allowed them to take a mortgage they couldn't afford on low wages that got them into this mess...

If they go private rented they stand no chance of getting a council house.

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The original artical says they are both in low paid employment. I tryed to cover that by saying they may be earning less, but if they were the benefits bill would be higher.

2 x £9,728.10 (37.5 min wage job after tax anually)

+

Benefits of £13120.66 (anually)

divided by 12 to give monthly total :D

You have to work 30 hours per week to qualify for tax credits. I doubt they both are. And since they left before the bailiffs arrived, the house would still be an asset wouldn't it?

Still, there seems something wrong with the maths on the claims you outline. I notice you can claim tax credit even if you're single. I wonder how many do?

Edited by deflation

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A cynic would say" they rang the press got a photograph and staged the scene so they could get a council house by blackmailing the council" but then cynics always say that.

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  • 259 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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