Tory-run Torbay council told a young person with mental health issues that they should be able to cope living homeless

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Wednesday 13 March 2019 16:00
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A letter was sent to a vulnerable young woman by Torbay, Devon council saying she is “resilient enough” to sleep on the streets.

The letter, shared by Twitter user Nicola Marie and publicised by the charity Humanity Torbay, stops temporary housing for a young person with mental health issues.

“Tory-run Torbay council has told a young person with a personality disorder and other mental health issues that they should be able to cope living homeless, on the streets,” Marie writes.

The letter reads: “Looking at all the facts, I believe that you are resilient enough to manage with a reasonable level of functionality.”

And I am 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 in the same situation as you.

The letter went on to state that the unnamed person is “able to carry out all the essential tasks needed for daily living and you would be able to cope with homelessness as well as an ordinary person.”

You are a person that I am satisfied is able to cope and function reasonably well with ‘day to day’ living and this would I believe still be the case if you were to become homeless to remain homeless.

The letter has been met with widespread condemnation, and many saw the response as callous

According to charity Shelter, 32,000 people in Britain are now homeless, and that number is on the rise.

A spokesperson for Torbay council confirmed the authenticity of the letter to indy100 and said the “full content” of the letter hasn’t been shared. When asked about the way in which such cases are assessed, they said they use five government-led criteria that they “have to consider.”

We cannot disclose personal information about individual cases but with regards to the letter that has been shared online, what has been shared isn’t the full content. 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.

With regards to the young person in question, the council said they were “accommodated for four weeks.”

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