Labour to amend domestic violence motion

Barnet's Labour councillors will be calling on Full Council to vote unanimously to protect the housing rights of people experiencing domestic violence.

Conservative housing boss, Cllr Tom Davey submitted a motion for debate to the meeting holding to the Conservative administration's proposal to force domestic violence victims to declare themselves homeless and push them to the back of the housing queue by stripping them of their Band 1 priority status on the housing waiting list.

Labour's housing spokesperson, Cllr Ross Houston called for the motion to be withdrawn earlier this week following the Housing Committee meeting on Monday where the Conservatives performed a dramatic u-turn and agreed to withdraw their proposals to strip domestic violence victims of their Band 1 status.

Labour councillor, Reema Patel, who started a campaign against the proposals and has obtained 600 signatures on a petition has now submitted an amendment to the Conservative motion to ensure the agreement to redraft the proposals is confirmed at the Full Council meeting.

Cllr Patel said: "It’s really important that all councillors support the Housing Committee view that these proposals may cause more harm then good.

"Domestic violence victims need to be given support and advice on all the available options so they can make the housing choice that is right for them, and part of that support must include retaining their Band 1 priority on the housing waiting list."

The Full Council meeting takes place on Tuesday 4 November at 7pm at Hendon Town Hall.

Notes:

1. The full text of Cllr Patel’s amendment: 

Council: Tuesday, 4 November 2014 

Amendment: Councillor Reema Patel

Protecting residents from domestic violence 

Delete all after second sentence and replace with:

Council notes that it is their duty, not just to re-house those experiencing domestic violence of a serious nature, but also to take steps to prevent domestic violence from taking place and that access to housing is vital in supporting the prevention of domestic violence.

Council also recognises that it must not force domestic violence applicants to make themselves homeless but must provide them with advice about their housing options including their choice whether to be assessed under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 which requires the council to advise them of their rights under the Housing Allocations Scheme or to apply through the Part 7 homelessness route to be placed in emergency accommodation.

Council also believes that for those who do choose to take the Part 7 homelessness route to be placed in emergency accommodation our housing policy should not force them to the back of the queue for permanent housing because of the criminally violent behaviour of someone else.

Council therefore calls for LB Barnet to:

  • continue to ensure that all housing applicants are given the options and advice they need to make the housing choice that is right for them
  • withdraw their proposal to strip those experiencing domestic violence of their Band 1 priority on the housing waiting list after placing them away from danger in emergency accommodation
  • ensure that all those placed in emergency or temporary accommodation as a result of domestic violence retain their Band 1 preference for permanent housing.

Substantive motion to read:

Council abhors domestic violence and notes the severe and sometimes life-long impacts it has upon victims. Council recognises it has a duty to help safeguard against abuse, protecting those at risk and supporting efforts to prosecute perpetrators.

Council notes that it is their duty, not just to re-house those experiencing domestic violence of a serious nature, but also to take steps to prevent domestic violence from taking place and that access to housing is vital in supporting the prevention of domestic violence.

Council also recognises that it must not force domestic violence applicants to make themselves homeless but must provide them with advice about their housing options including their choice whether to be assessed under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 which requires the council to advise them of their rights under the Housing Allocations Scheme or to apply through the Part 7 homelessness route to be placed in emergency accommodation.

Council also believes that for those who do choose to take the Part 7 homelessness route to be placed in emergency accommodation our housing policy should not force them to the back of the queue for permanent housing because of the criminally violent behaviour of someone else.

Council therefore calls for LB Barnet to:

  • continue to ensure that all housing applicants are given the options and advice they need to make the housing choice that is right for them
  • withdraw their proposal to strip those experiencing domestic violence of their Band 1 priority on the housing waiting list after placing them away from danger in emergency accommodation
  • ensure that all those placed in emergency or temporary accommodation as a result of domestic violence retain their Band 1 preference for permanent housing.

2. The Council meeting agenda can be found here:

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=162&MId=7815&Ver=4  

For more information contact:

Cllr Ross Houston: cllr.r.houston@barnet.gov.uk

Cllr Reema Patel: cllr.r.patel@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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