A regulatory body established for hostels and supported housing
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Hostels and supported housing in the UK aren't currently regulated, for every good landlord or housing charity there is a bad one.
Owners of hostels and supported housing use licence agreements rather than tenancy agreements, these give vulnerable adults less rights and treated as second class citizens.
Support workers can take advantage of vulnerable adults, bullying and belittling of clients is common. No training standards. Often contravening Equality Act laws and Data Protection laws.
People who end up living in hostels and supported housing often suffer from substance misuse issues and are usually self medicating to alleviate trauma symptoms. Most have a background of traumatic events, such as child abuse, domestic violence, seen horrific things during military combat or been sexually assaulted. I've never met anyone who misuses substances for the fun of it, everyone I have met has had some traumatic event that has affected their lives. So clients are already going through difficulties, we should therefore try to make things easier and fairer for them.
There needs to be a regulatory body that oversees training of support workers, a fair and impartial complaints procedure in place and fair licence agreement.
When I was homeless I was discriminated against by two housing charities.
The first housing charity evicted me with two weeks notice for not engaging enough, even though I had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and recovering from being knocked down by a car.
The second housing charity dealt with a complaint unfairly and the complaints procedure was not impartial.
A client at the hostel was having a relationship with a 15 year old boy, the client was aware that I knew about the relationship and tried to blackmail me. I refused to be blackmailed and the client told staff that I had said racist and homophobic words to him in the kitchen. There was a witness (a black man) who told staff that he had been in the kitchen the whole time and I didn't say anything racist or homophobic.
The manager didn't give the client a warning for false accusations of racism and homophobia, when I complained to the head office they sided with the manager who had omitted the fact there was a witness during the complaints procedure to cover up for not giving the client a warning. The head office made no attempt to contact the witness. Once I had left the hostel I contacted police and made a statement in regard to the client and their relationship with the 15 year old.
In both cases there was no-one that I could complain to because they aren't regulated and the local authority (Lewisham Council) don't monitor them. Often there is an assumption that the Care Quality Commission regulate hostels and supported housing, but they don't come under their remit. The Charity Commission do not regulate hostels or supported housing and don't get involved in the day to day running of charities. The Housing Ombudsman Service can only investigate if the landlord or housing charity is registered with them and registration is voluntary.
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