We provide Bilingual Advocacy in Brighton and Hove as part of the Sussex Advocacy Partnership (SAP). Here is a recent story from the Bilingual Advocacy service:
The Service User (X) needed help to present as homeless to the council – she had been staying at her sister’s in Brighton which was causing friction and the sister wanted X to leave. X had nowhere to go and very little money. X is disabled, has literacy issues and is suffering from severe depression.
X stated that she wants to retake control of her life and live on her own, away from her family. X was receiving social prescribing support from a SIS Bilingual Community Navigator who referred her into SAP for support with an emergency accommodation application.
During the interview with the first homeless officer, he stated that although X had clear mobility issues, she may not qualify for the homeless criteria. The advocate challenged his view, giving many additional details about her physical disabilities, mobility restrictions, pain, mental health issues and undiagnosed learning difficulties (poor literacy in any language and receptive language disorder). This enabled the homeless officer to review his decision and agree that X met the criteria required to to apply for homeless accommodation.
A second housing officer used telephone interpreting to ask X for additional information. The advocate was not allowed to speak during this interview, but could take notes and speak at the end. The advocate needed to clarify and correct some of the interpreting which could have negatively affected X’s case – some were dates mixed up and reasons for immigrating had been wrongly interpreted.
X was offered emergency accommodation and the advocate helped with additional information about transport links and the local area with digital support.
X was extremely happy with the outcome.
“I was able to successfully challenge the homeless housing officer view, when he stated that the X did not fit the homeless criteria, under disability grounds. X has been placed in emergency accommodation, whilst the council completes their investigations. I am delighted with this outcome.” (Bilingual Advocate)
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the brightest star in my life. I was lost but have discovered hope again.” (X)