The Independent London Newspaper
26th September 2018

Evicted tenant beds down in council estate bin room

    Raymond Charles on the Rowley Way Estae

    Published: 19 October, 2016
    By TOM FOOT

    THE Town Hall sent outreach teams to a Swiss Cottage estate this evening (Wednesday) after the New Journal interviewed a man bedding down in its bin room after being evicted from his council flat of 20 years.

    Raymond Charles, who is undergoing tests for suspected bone cancer, watched as his one-bedroom flat in Rowley Way was boarded up earlier this month.

    The 59-year-old has been relying on the support of a concerned neighbour and the companionship of his cat, Tiger.

    Speaking to the New Journal from the Alexandra Estate bin room on Tuesday night, Mr Charles said: “I was homeless for a little while before, after I left the Army. I’ve been here for 20 years and don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll be alright I guess, but I’m not well. I’m not well at all.” The council said it had irrefutable evidence that Mr Charles, a former serviceman who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and who was later posted to Germany, had broken the terms of his tenancy by sub-letting his home.

    Mr Charles disputed this saying his home had been broken into by a group who had effectively squatted there against his will. His neighbour partially backed up the story saying he had bought and fitted a replacement lock for Mr Charles, and he had seen a group of men coming and going from the property. 

    Neighbours thought it was likely he had been bullied into giving up his home and said there had recently been trouble involving a man and a dog, who appeared to be staying in the flat.

    Housing chief Councillor Pat Callaghan said last night, after being contacted by the New Journal, an outreach team was being sent down to the bin rooms to see Mr Charles “as a matter of urgency”.

    Another friend of Mr Charles, who runs a cash exchange in Kilburn High Road, is helping him by letting him store his belongings in the shop. He said he had known Mr Charles for years and there was “no way” he could be sub-letting his home. His two friends suggested Mr Charles was likely to have been caught up in the system and often found it difficult to cut through Town Hall red tape. 

    Down in the bin room, Mr Charles showed the New Journal his medical letters which detailed several recent trips to St Mary’s Hospital and GP appointments at the Adelaide Medical Centre.  The medical letters paint a picture of a fragile man, suffering with a “longstanding history of pain in both shoulders” and “extensive degenerative disease at multiple levels” of his spine. 

    He had also been hit by government welfare reforms, which stripped him of his benefits for several weeks after he did not attend a “fitness to work” assessment, previously run by Atos, now run by Maximus, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

    Cllr Callaghan said: “We had clear evidence that the gentleman in question was illegally sub-letting his council flat, so we secured a court judgement to take back possession of the property. Council homes are in such short supply and we will always take firm action to protect our assets from people that want to use them illegally. Having now learned that the gentleman is now sleeping in these conditions, we are sending an outreach team to see him as a matter of urgency and he will again be offered appropriate services.”

    Comments

    Jada

    Thank god u will hell this man it's hard for any one to be homeless especially the homeless

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