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Voluntary Housing

category national | housing | opinion/analysis author Thursday April 20, 2006 20:15author by John Williams - Freelance Writerauthor email johnwrites03 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address Tipperary, ireland Report this post to the editors

Transparency

Asks if there is transparencey in the way Voluntary Housing Projects are run

.
Could there be questions to be answered about use of public money simmering under the foundations of so called Voluntary Housing Projects? Just who is responsible for the manner in which these Voluntary Housing Bodies behave while drawing down hundreds of thousands in funding?

These housing developments are funded by the Department of the Environment through local authorities and ususlly run by approved voluntary housing bodies.

There seems to be no central complaints process about these bodies. Represenations made to the department of the Environment are met with the reply that the local authority is responsible. Local authorities say it is the DOELG. At least that has been the response I got. I welcome and will acknowledge clarification.If an approved body is based in one county but building a development in another which local authority would be the one to complain to?

The approved bodies have to take 75% of applicants off the approved local authority lists i.e. people whom the relevant local authority have deemed in need of housing.By relevant I mean the local authority in whoses area the development is.They are allowed to fill the rest of the vacancies from their own lists. But some do not keep lists and take 100% from the relevant local authority.

An example of the difficulty of obtaining information is the fact that it took me many months to determine that they are allowed to choose whether they can take 100% from local authority list. When I was told they are it was stated that I had been told previously. NOt so. I wrote back and asked for a copy of the email where that was stated to me. No response

There is also the issue that residents of these houses are not allowed to purchase them. Can the people who run the schemes have their own private houses and use public money to ensure others can't. It is claimed that people in the houses can apply for local authority houses which they can then apply to buy, but the rub is that there is a shortage of local authority houses, and if there wasn't these developments probably would not exist in the first place.After further research I understand that purchase of future developments may be possible

There are also people housed in some of theses developments who are enagage in anti social behaviour and belong to the weekly trip to the district court brigade. Yet there is shortage houses for people who do not engage in criminal activities. Is the housing of drug dealers a priority now? Closely allied to this is the fact I am aware of past claims of some houses left boarded up because of anti social behaviour and tenants leaving.I have yet to establish if this is true. The question was not answered

Allocation is said to be in consultation with the relevant local authority. When I asked the rules for the consultation process from a local authority I was told none exist. It would appear to be an ad hoc basis. Furthermore names of people on housing lists are sometimes given to the voluntary bodies without the person's knowledge and the allocation apparently made largely on age. Now here's a question. Is giving out the person's name without their permission a breach of their right to privacy? And here's another,if the allocations are made on age basis why is it that all age group names are given out? Why do they not write to the people in the age group?

One so called independent living development for disabled had a contract whereby any resident there would have to check with reception if they wanted visitors.This happens in prisons, hospitals and other institutions. This was subsequently denied to me but I have a copy of the contract and I have the denial in writing so one is obviously wrong.The residents should have the same right to privacy/overnight guests/visitors as mainstream local authority tenant

If people want or need to live in a high support setting that is their right. Some need support and should get it. But the houses should not be described as independent living and people who do want independent living should not be penalised by a rule made by someone who is using public funding. I wonder if the people who run these schemes have to check with the tenants when they want visitors in their private houses. How are they allowed to use public funding be the moral guardians of the disabled?

The funding available to these bodies should be given direct to people who want to, but cannot afford to, buy their own houses.

Many have spoken to me of not being happy with the way their application to these oganisations was processed but are afraid to speak out because they fear being victimised or discriminated against in any future dealing with the organisation. I do allege this would happen but the feeling impedes transparencey

These schemes apear to get very positive media coverage coverage. But is there another side to it? Isit the creation of ghettos where people's right to dignity is undermined by institutional like rules and tough screening for tenancies under the guise of housing developments? I would not say these developments are not worthy of praise. They do provide housing and associated services but there seems to be a lack of transparency in the way the operate and a lack of any regulations on consultation with local authorities in the allocations.

Since beginning this research a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment has wriiten me to say "There is no specific complaints system in place for Voluntary Housing Bodies and there are no regulations on consultation processes"

author by John Williams - Freelance Writerpublication date Thu Apr 20, 2006 20:27author email johnwrites03 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address Tipperary, irelandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

When I wrote allocations made largley on age I did not mean always. What I meant is that if developments are for people over a certain age then people under that age should not be written to if they have no real chance

author by tfpublication date Fri Apr 21, 2006 01:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This article is interesting, but it is a bit vague on details and specifics. Which housing bodies are you referring to - sonas, cluid, the iveagh trust? Which local authorities are you talking about? Can you give us the names of some of the people you have been in touch with regard to the DOE policies, and non responses?

author by John Williams - Freelance Writerpublication date Fri Apr 21, 2006 19:57author email johnwrites03 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for your interest. Sorry I cannot give the details you request in public at the moment anyway.

author by John Williams - Freelance Writerpublication date Fri Apr 21, 2006 20:07author email johnwrites03 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address Tipperary, irelandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

The fact that according to the DOE "There is no specific complaints system in place for Voluntary Housing Bodies and there are no regulations on consultation processes" is the central issue.

author by tfpublication date Sat Apr 22, 2006 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you cant give the details here in public, why did you bother posting an article on indymedia? For all intensive purposes, your entire article could be manufactured. There are no examples or figures of specific agencies or councils doing what you say. It is all vague and shadowy. Any bite that your article might have had is not there.

Pity.

author by John Williams - Freelance Writerpublication date Sat Apr 22, 2006 17:49author email johnwrites03 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address Tipperary, irelandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Name /details are not given for legal reasons There are libel laws and editorial guidelines to be considered posting here at least for people who give their names. Anyone who thinks the article is manufactured is free to do their own research

author by John Williams - Freelance Writerpublication date Sun Apr 23, 2006 16:42author email johnwrites03 at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address Tipperary, irelandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I would like this say this artice is copyright and ask that this is respected even though I did not make it clear at beginning. Thanks

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