US News: Young Woman With Mental Problems Told By Council She 'Could Cope With Sleeping Rough' - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US NewsYoung Woman With Mental Problems Told By Council She 'Could Cope With Sleeping Rough'

21:05  13 march  2019
21:05  13 march  2019 Source:   huffingtonpost.co.uk

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Young Woman With Mental Problems Told By Council She 'Could Cope With Sleeping Rough' © PA Wire/PA Images Embargoed to 0001 Wednesday December 05 File photo dated 07/02/17 of a person sleeping rough in a doorway. Shelter has warned the UK's housing crisis will be "felt across a generation" as the latest figures reveal the scale of children living in homelessness

A council has come under fire for telling a young woman with mental health problems she would be able to cope with sleeping on the streets.

Humanity Torbay, a charity that supports vulnerable people in Torbay, a borough in Devon, shared images of a letter sent to the woman, calling it “appalling”.

The letter, which was written to explain the decision to not make the young person a priority for housing, meaning she would become homeless, acknowledges she has depression and personality disorders but said she would be “able to cope with homelessness as well as an ordinary person”.

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In explaining the decision, which followed an assessment, the author of the letter wrote: “I accept that the difficulties you experience now would be likely to get worse if you were to remain in the medium or longer term without accommodation.

“However, looking at all the facts, I believe you are resilient enough to manage with a reasonable level of functionality and I’m not satisfied that your ability to manage being homeless, even if that homelessness were to result in you having to sleep rough occasionally, or in the longer term would deteriorate to a level where the harm you are likely to experience would be outside of the range of vulnerability that an ordinary person would experience if they were to be in the same situation as you.”

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In a Facebook post, which shared further parts of the letter, the charity described the incident as “so appalling and so terrible”.

“We are horrified and shocked that somebody with severe depression and other medical facts is deemed fit to be able to sleep on the streets,” a spokesperson said.

Ellie Waugh of the charity told HuffPost UK that the recipient was a young woman who shared the letter in the hope of raising awareness about how those at risk of being street homeless are treated.

Waugh said she was in “a terrible state” when she came to the charity for help but that they had been able to secure her temporary accommodation and make sure she is safe.

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Asked if the young woman has appealed the decision, she said: “No, nobody does because you don’t win against Torbay Council. They are just awful.”

The letter has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. Some people tagged Kevin Foster, MP for Torquay and Paignton, in the posts.

He responded with a tweet that said: “If true not acceptable at all.” He suggested the young woman contact his office so he could challenge it on her behalf.

In response, a spokeswoman for Torbay Council said she couldn’t disclose personal information about individual cases but what had been shared “isn’t the full content”.

She said: “What has not been shown is an explanation of who would be considered in priority need and why this person is not. The letter also includes a clear explanation on their right to request a review of this decision, and we encourage the person concerned to exercise this right if they feel the decision has been made incorrectly.”

She said the application of the law and the legal tests that are applied “are complex” but they do their best to explain decisions clearly.

“While we were carrying out our investigations and assessment of this case we did accommodate this person for a period of four weeks,” she said.

“During this time we continuously provided information on how to find appropriate accommodation, including information on financial assistance and our deposit bond scheme. This is with the aim of helping them to find the right accommodation for them.

“We are continuing to support this person to find accommodation.”

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