Friday, December 08, 2006
This face has haunted me ever since I watched Brain Wood's documentary Evicted, on the November 29th. Chloe came home to find her parents locked out of the only home she had ever known because there had been a delay with their housing benefit. The cheque to clear the rent arrears had arrived the day before they were evicted, and Chloe's mum had called the council's finance department to prevent action being taken, she thought she had everything sorted out. Later she was told that she should have made 2 calls, one to the other department involved, but nobody had told her and she just didn't know. The local authority eventually owned their part in the mistake, but in the meantime the family were told they had made themselves intentionally homeless which exonerated the authorties from accomadating them, Chloe's school refused to send her work to the family's B&B because she was out of their area, if only temporarily.
The other stories were equally heartbreaking but this one may have a profound effect on Chloe's psyche "When eight-year-old Chloe returned home to find her parents in tears... she lost far more than just a roof over her head. At such a critical stage in her emotional development her ability to trust her parents, any grown-ups, the world in general has been shaken to its core. Her confidence and stability may never recover."
I shall be posting soon on what we can do to help, meanwhile I shall be pondering why the anti-social behaviour is central to the public policy agenda, whilst we are simultaneously creating all the risk factors for these children.