Archive for the ‘articles’ Category

This story was commissioned as part of the Bureau’s Local Reporting Fund – a grant that supports the reporting of untold stories across the UK.

Last winter as temperatures plummeted, a homeless man with learning disabilities found his way to a severe weather emergency facility in Northampton. The cold had already taken effect. The man ended up with such severe frostbite that he had eight toes amputated.

Before getting this emergency care he had tried to gain access to a newly set up night shelter in the town, but was only allowed to stay for one night before being turned away because he had rent arrears at former temporary accommodation.

Read the full story here.

The latest in my work on the hostile environment. It was amazing to work with Catrin Nye, the team at Victoria Derbyshire and my long-term collaborator on hostile environment issues, Natalie Bloomer, to reveal a truly shocking story.

“More than half of UK police forces are handing over victims of crime to the Home Office for immigration enforcement, new figures show. One woman who was beaten by her partner was then herself arrested by police. There are fears the approach is stopping vulnerable people – including rape victims – reporting crimes, playing into the hands of traffickers.” Read the story here and watch the TV package here.

For the past year I’ve been working on the issue of evictions in the UK. This piece in the New Statesman should be the first of several on the topic. It looks at the impact of eviction on a single person and her family.

“Iwona is early. She is always early for appointments, including being interviewed by a journalist. This is no easy task. She is a lone parent and a carer to her mother who both has dementia and uses a wheelchair. Iwona works in a supermarket, volunteers at a local food bank, and is studying part time to become a social worker.”

Read the full article here.

The ‘hostile environment’ for migrants is impinging on everyday life for the public and for people in public and (increasingly) private services. Immigration checks at the border have now been extended in housing, education, health, and employment. Natalie Bloomer and I have been looking at the impact on people of these policies and just how far ‘everyday bordering’ has reached into our lives. I’ve been a big fan of Natalie’s work since I read a piece she did a few years back on ‘Baby Banks‘ (like a food bank, but for baby stuff like nappies, wipes, formula, clothes), so it’s a real privilege to be working with her on this. I’ll be adding to this series as we publish more.

Met police hands victims of crime over to the Home Office for immigration enforcement

Sadiq Khan says police are “duty bound” to report victims of crime to the Home Office

Revealed: MPs using immigration enforcement hotline to report people to the Home Office

Big Brother state: How May’s obsession with immigration turned Britain into a surveillance state

A major part of what leads to segregation in society, by wealth and power, is not part of our integration debate. Why not? Today our society is more divided by wealth than it has been in a century. Mostly this divide between people who own housing, and those who do not.

Read the full article here.

Fears have been raised that criminal offences could go unreported after it was revealed that the Metropolitan police has been referring victims of crime over to the Home Office for immigration enforcement.

Read the full article here.

New book: The Rent Trap

Posted: November 25, 2015 in articles, housing

Over the past year I’ve been busy working on a jointly-authored book for the newly-incarnated Left Book Club.

The Rent Trap brings together a lot of the work myself and Rosie Walker have been doing on housing as journalists and activists. We interviewed everyone from policy-makers to people living in the worst housing conditions, and many degrees in between. What we are aiming to do is show why we have fallen into a rent trap, and look at some of the things we can do about it. Publication is due in March 2016. To find out more, check out the Left Book Club site.

rent-trap-191x300

Housing immigration checks introduced in the 2014 Immigration Act are set to be ramped up under the Conservatives. This is a short and quick comment piece written up for the Independent in my day-job capacity soon after the announcement was made. Suffice to say I’m not a fan of the policy.

The Government’s new plan to jail “rogue landlords” for renting out homes to undocumented migrants is an extremely unjust measure for everyone involved in the private housing market. As well as harming undocumented people and needlessly punishing those who rent to them, it will only make help fuel discrimination among landlords and letting agents.”

Read the full article here.

The Care Quality Commission found that around only one in six people who used crisis care felt the care they received had worked. This is a piece I wrote up on the back of some research I did in my day job to support the Care Quality Commission review, looking at the experiences of black and minority ethnic people.

“Ramone is in his mid-20s and with his family emigrated to the UK around 10 years ago from eastern Europe. He developed a severe mental illness that requires long-term care, but is not eligible for treatment. This means that when he becomes extremely ill, he is sectioned (usually by the police) and admitted to a mental health unit where he is medicated to a point where he can be released, with no care afterwards. This pattern has repeated itself for six years.”

Read the full piece here.

So this isn’t actually something I did as a freelance, and was part of my day job. It sets out and summarises some of the key race inequality issues that are currently found in private renting.

“Fifty years ago, if you had walked around the streets of London looking for digs you’d have seen signs on flats to rent saying ‘No Blacks, No Irish’. Despite continued cases of direct discrimination, racial discrimination in housing is generally now much more complex, nuanced and subtle.”

Read the full article here.