Summary: Ms B complains about the way the Council responded to her request for housing.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.
The Council has accepted our recommendations to:
- pay Ms B £1,500 to reflect her avoidable distress. Our Guidance on Remedies suggests a payment of more than £1,000 is appropriate in exceptional circumstances for severe or prolonged distress. We have recommended £1,500 because Ms B has six children, one of who is exceptionally vulnerable. It also reflects that the Council had to move Ms B between hotels causing additional distress and upheaval;
- pay Ms B’s costs orders;
- review a sample of cases (to be selected by us) since the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force to see whether there are any others in a similar position and remedy any injustice to them in line with our Guidance on Remedies; and
- provide refresher training for staff involved in this case and for any other staff who have not received training since the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force.
In addition to the recommendations agreed in the previous paragraph, the Council should also:
- pay Ms B £150 for each week she remains in Bed and Breakfast after 24 March 2020. This payment is to recognise the avoidable inconvenience of being in Bed and Breakfast for longer than six weeks based on there being seven people in the household, some of whom have disabilities;
- pay Ms B £100 a week for each week she is in Bed and Breakfast after 24 March. This is to recognise the additional costs of takeaway main evening meals because of a lack of cooking facilities; and
- reimburse Ms B for the night of Bed and Breakfast she paid for out of her own money.
Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 26 October 2020.