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The Guardian: "Our immoral housing policy is set up to punish the poor"

"Because councils see poverty as a failing, and don't give second chances, people are losing their homes"

Link to web site

"Fighting back her tears, Gunita speaks into the telephone in Brent council's customer service centre. 'I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I was confused. I didn’t understand it was the only offer. Please, I’ll take the one-bedroom flat now,' she tells the housing officer on the other end of the line.

" 'It doesn’t matter now. You turned down a reasonable offer so I’m afraid we have no further duty towards you.'

"As an anthropologist documenting the experiences of low-income tenants as they attempt to navigate London’s continuing housing crisis, I have become all too familiar with exchanges such as this. A record number of evictions is leaving increasing numbers at the mercy of local authorities. In cases like that of Gunita, where the applicant has turned down a property, councils can discharge their duty on the grounds that a 'reasonable offer' has been made. In other instances, an individual may not even get as far as making a homelessness application: councils have become adept at discouraging them, a practice known as 'gatekeeping'."

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