Once again, Barnet Council is targeting the most vulnerable adults and children in our community in its ideological drive to withdraw from providing public services for those in need.
This time they are forcing domestic violence victims to declare themselves homeless in order to be re-housed in temporary accommodation. This will strip domestic violence victims of their priority on the housing waiting list, and mean Barnet council no longer needs to prioritise them for permanent housing.
The council already has a legal duty to urgently re-house any resident that is homeless because of domestic violence - normally in emergency or temporary accommodation. Housing allocations policy should not be changed to force them into homelessness and strip them of their priority on the housing waiting list.
It is vital that we protect women, men and children who suffer abuse, and that we prioritise their chances of being re-housed in permanent, safe and secure accommodation in our housing allocations policy.
The council are consulting residents on their plan. Anyone can respond to the consultation, and we have set out below some key points that can be used by anyone who wants to oppose the council’s plan.
You can send responses to the consultation here.
Response to the housing allocations consultation:
We oppose the council's proposal to force domestic violence victims to declare themselves homeless in order to be re-housed by the council, and the proposal to place them in lower priority Banding 2 or 3 instead of the top priority Banding 1.
We oppose these proposals as:
- Being required to self-declare as homeless could prevent victims of domestic violence from reporting their abuse, and lead to violence in the home continuing unchecked.
- Requiring victims of domestic violence to declare themselves homeless and leave their home risks the perception that the system rewards the abuser.
- The proposals reduce the chance that women, men and children who are leaving a violent home will be placed into permanent, safe and secure council accommodation.
- The proposals could prevent victims of domestic violence from being re-housed in another London borough under the North London agreement and local authorities outside London.
- There has been no clear justification for this proposal and the council has not produced evidence that it will improve the lives of victims of domestic violence.