View Full Version : Housing, Beaurocracy and Desperation

20-May-03, 16:30
I have had the occasion to deal with several housing offices throughout the highlands over the last few months and i am astounded at the amount of errors and incorrect information which i have been given. The confusion about the allocation of Council properties is horrendous. I am not a stupid person but trying to get information about my application is almost impossible.

I have been passed from pillar to post, i cannot get a grip of what criteria is being used to allocate properties, i cannot get an answer as to what assessment is being made to decide whether to allocate housing or not. I am told that not only can i not speak to a housing officer but they are too busy to promise to return my calls. I have been told that paperwork has not been received when i know that it has. I am intelligent and articulate so suffice to say i have made plenty of noise about this but pity the poor person who for varioous reasons is not able to do this.

Both Wick and Thuso housing offices have been helpful but even here, mistakes were made which not only delayed my application but, through their failure to follow instructions to use a correspondence address could have placed me in some danger.

I am constantly being told that it is who you know that will see you get a house allocated. I really hope that this is not true but it is a sad indictment of the system if people perceive that this is the case.

I am sure there is proabably a similar staffing crisis in this area of work as in many other public services but that is simply not a good enough excuse. Housing should be allocated on need, the system should be transparent and there should be clarity as to what happens to an application and how it is rated. This wading through mud to get any information is ridiculous.

Maybe it is a job for our councillors to examine this other wise who oversees the processes and ensures that things are done right? That might be too late for me though as i and my children will be homeless in the next two weeks - hopefully my call to John Thurso will make someone actually LOOK at my application cos i am not sure that anyone has bothered doing so yet.

21-May-03, 23:56
You're not alone mate. I have a similar problem. Except mine is when I claim housing benefit. The form asks for details of address and phone number. It takes weeks for them to reply, and when they do it is by letter if they need anymore information. Why they don't phone up and ask for this info is beyond me. It takes a matter of minutes so therefore can be dealt with right away. Whilst sending letters only prolongs the matter and before you know it you are receiving letters saying you are in rent arrears. People were complaining when it was all dealt with in Inverness. I, myself was one. But believe you me it was dealt with a lot quicker. Personally, I think they are pretty useless up here. Also, I don't agree with them asking for personal details, i.e.your last two months bank statements. I can see the reasoning behind this, but, I think it is prying too much.
I could go on for ever but ther wouldn't be enough room on this message board.