my son (25) has recently been made homeless by the supported mental health housing (Brighton and Hove) unit he was in, and staying with me while the NHS/ Council slowly find a new place. I am desperate. should I make a complaint, or stay with the process?
I can give further details
That sounds a stressful situation. I don’t have experience of this, but there are others on here who care for someone with MH problems.
Perhaps contact the Mind helpline and / or Shelter for advice.
Write to the services.
Take photos of your letters include your MP.
We had to have MP involved to get help.
Rethink mental illness helped me.
I hope you have kind friends who care for you.
Well done for supporting your son,
Thanks for your replies, Melly1 and Ula. To give more of a picture:
My son is 25 and has a diagnosis of schizo-affective disorder, ADHD and neurodevelopmental disorder. He was discharged from hospital in Nov 22 and was in a supported accommodation high support called Cogden House run by Venture People. They evicted him with 2 months notice for smoking in his bathroom. The referral for new accommodation was not made until 2 weeks before the eviction date (May 16th) because his lead Social Worker was ill. The only option was emergency accommodation in Eastbourne and it apparently had lots of issues there with drug abuse and violence, so the Council homelessness officer said if he could stay with me that would be better. So he has been staying here since then, while the NHS team make referrals. But there are waiting lists and no vacancies. They are saying they are doing what they can, but in the meantime this is affecting my work (full time in London) and relationship.
I have drafted an email to my MP. I have contacted Rethink Mental Illness (no reply yet but it’s recent) , and written emails to the NHS team. The line manager there has been phoning me but more or less to address the issues I’ve raised and say if I want to take it further I should make a complaint.
I have held off doing this so far because I thought it would further delay the process. Do you think I should do this now, and yes, document the evidence?
I can’t send my son off to emergency accommodation with a good conscience.
Any one else with experience in Brighton and Hove?
Hi Patrick and welcome to the forum!
Unfortunately everywhere seems to be having similar problems, but it seems to me that there is no way that it was reasonable for no referral to be made for 6 weeks while the social worker was ill. So yes, a complaint is certainly in order…but. I’ve come across some situations where that has delayed actions being taken, so if I were you I’d keep pushing for a placement for your son first, and when the move has taken place make the complaint. You can leave a complaint for up to a year, so a few weeks are not going to hurt.
Give Rethink Mental Health a couple of days to come back to you: if they can help, all well and good. In the meantime, there’s a Carers Centre you can contact that may be able to help, or at least point you in the direction of local support: you can contact them on 01273 746222.
thanks CharlesH, this is very useful. hope you’re well.
Hello all. Still no progress on the accommodation referral, and relations between my son and me are becoming strained. I live in a 1 bedroom rented flat and am sleeping on the sofa while he sleeps in the bedroom, because he doesn’t usually wake up until half way through the day and I need to work in the room where the sofa is. I need to prompt him to take his medication morning and evening, and in the daytime he goes out, buys junk food and tobacco and uses all his money (managed by Money Advice Plus) so asks me for more. His condition is such that he just doesn’t seem to be understand the point or need for what the professionals call Activities of Daily Living, washing, eating well, keeping to a regular sleep pattern, budgeting. So I get frustrated and angry. This has also caused a deterioration in my relationship - my partner lives 20 minutes walk away and it seems to sometimes come down to a choice between my son and her.
On the support services side, they have arranged for my son to meet a team member once maybe twice a week. In the meantime there is no progress with the accommodation referral and they will not give me a timeframe. I have sent a complaint to PALS, the Council, and the previous supported housing provider who evicted him. Not sure what this will do but various people have advised me that I should complain to put pressure on them.
Rethink did come back to me, and that was useful. I have been referred to a Mental Health advocate, but they have not got back to me yet. Otherwise it seems to come down to waiting for something to happen.
Hi Patrick, I’m sorry things aren’t moving are quickly - it really doesn’t sound like the current arrangement is working for you even in the interim. Unfortunately as your son has a bed, there will be less of a rush to house him. I do think the more fuss you make the better.
now it turns out things are in a completely different ball game because my son is saying he won’t move into supported accommodation, that he is better and does not need support and medication any more. he will ‘work it out himself’. I want to believe him, but the thing is he can’t even get up in the morning.
Patrick, if he discontinues his meds he will end up in hospital again. Does he mean he wants to stay with you indefinitely as the better option or he wants ordinary accommodation without support.?
he thinks he can live unsupported and wants to stay here until he works it out. but he has no worldly knowledge or skills
It’s a one bed flat and he is in YOUR BED! Have those supporting him done a carers assessment for you, looking at your ability to care, and willingness, and the suitability of your flat??? The very fact he wants to impose himself on you shows his lack of insight. I love my son with LD dearly, but he can’t live with me, his needs are too great.
thanks BowlingBun, I appreciate it. There is a Carer’s assessment coming in 2-3 weeks.
I guess it is because I said I was willing for him to stay here instead of being in emergency accommodation via the Council that he is here. And that seems to be the choice at the moment. It’s complicated by the fact that he now intermittently says he does not want to go ‘backwards’ to supported housing. He also does not want to complain, and the Council and MP to whom I have written require his permission to investigate further on his behalf. I’m going to explore the ‘Shared Lives’ housing option to see if there are any options there.
Sorry this will be an unpopular post but what do you want to complain about exactly?
What is being evicted for? Smoking in the bathroom? They would have (or should have) sat him down and explained all the T’s and C’s which he would have had to sign that he understood them. If he has then broken the agreement, they can evict him.
Did you go to the Council straight away when they said they were going to evict him? They would have tried to advocate on his behalf. The last thing a Housing unit needs is someone else who is street homeless. If it was a one off incident, they might have allowed him to remain there.
If the complaint is about them leaving it too late, go for it but I’m not sure what you think they will be able to do other than apologise. If the SW was off sick, there is always a duty SW and they would have picked the case up or looked at it.
Realistically, if he goes on Brighton’s Housing Register, he may be waiting a very very long time unless they have lots of properties available. In our Council, we have to be honest and say 1.5 to 2 years.
Does he have any other relations he can stop with in the interim? Be careful saying no to emergency accommodation - they may say “it was his offer of accommodation” which he refused and can close the case down.
From what you have said, he is not tenancy ready so him living on his own is a big NO NO but he is a grown man and can make his own decisions. You could look for private rented accommodation for him. He will get something towards his rent and all these other agencies you have contact with might be able to help him too. The Housing unit might be able to help him with a paper bond guarantee.
Also, if they do find him another placement, the place where is going to move to will want to know why he was evicted and this might impact on whether they take him on or not.
Given that this was a mental health supported living situation, there are questions about whether or not the tenant had the necessary capacity to understand the tenancy rules: there’s a legal requirement to assume capacity, but in circumstances like this that may well be a mistake: I had a case where two people with learning disabilities signed their tenancy agreement - and there was absolutely no way they understood it. A mental capacity assessment should be required in cases like this.
The fact that the duty worker didn’t touch the case while the social worker was off sick is absolutely grounds for complaint. Yes, an apology is likely the only thing that will come of it, but also the people responsible will be reminded of their duties. Clearly that’s needed.
Patrick, it’s a matter of what you both NEED.
You need your bed back, and to be able to live your own life.
Your son may not WANT to “go backwards” to supported living, but surely that’s what he NEEDS.
As he is over 18, you do NOT have a legal duty to look after him.
As a vulnerable adult, Social Services (SSD) have a legal duty to assess his needs and ensure that he is safe.
Maybe everyone concerned needs to be reminded of these facts in these very simple terms?
I have an unhappy relationship with SSD these days, my son has severe learning difficulties, I love him very much but for health reasons can only care for him for short periods. They seem to think anything they or the carers can’t or won’t do is my responsibility. It isn’t.
Someone would have had to have been there with the OP’s son when he signed up. Either someone from the MH Team or someone from the family.
Sorry OP, was this the only thing that led to your son being evicted? No other history?
People make mistakes, we are all human. I don’t know if smoking in a bathroom would have violated anyone else? If it’s things like beating someone up or trying to set something on fire or having a weapon, that’s instant eviction. Things might be different down there.