Exclusive: 928 people are currently suspended from the council’s housing bid system

Herbie Russell (08 June, 2022)

Of this figure, 111 have been unable to bid on new properties for over five years

56179Keri German (left) and Denise Saunders (right) were both suspended for months on end

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the News has revealed that 928 people are currently suspended from Southwark council’s housing bid system.

Southwark HomeSearch is the system that current and prospective council tenants use to apply for council-owned properties.

The FOI request revealed that of the 928 people suspended from the online system, 111 have been locked out for over five years. 692 people have been suspended for over six months, 580 for over one year and 342 for over two years.

It is unclear whether these 928 are people who are included in or excluded from the overall housing waiting list, which currently stands at over 16,000. The News is investigating this further.

Officially, cases are suspended if they are pending verification, under offer, under fraud investigation, under review or undergoing changes in circumstance.

But the News has previously spoken to residents who have been suspended from the system through no fault of their own.

In April, the News spoke to Denise Saunders (pictured), a 49-year-old disabled woman who was suspended from the system between September 2021 and April 2022 while the documents she submitted were processed.

Exclusive: Disabled mum trapped in top floor flat in despair after being suspended from bid system

This meant she was left in a damp-ridden flat in Telfer House, Kingswood Estate, Dulwich, unsuitable for a wheelchair-bound woman because of its narrow corridors and constantly breaking lift. Denise rarely leaves the house because the lift breaks so often and she can’t use the stairs. She is still looking for a more suitable home.

We also spoke to Kerri German, 34, from Borough, who says she was suspended in January 2020 and only reinstated in mid-2021.

She was suspended because the council said they didn’t have records of her previous working status even though she’d been submitting her employment contracts for years.

According to disability equality charity Scope, clients can sometimes find housing applications complicated to complete.

Those who need help filling in their housing application forms can find different support services here: https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/apply-accessible-housing-association-council-housing/#Advocacy-and-getting-advice-and-support-click

The council was approached for comment.

 

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