Benefit reforms and austere times leaving Darlington residents desperate

The Advertiser Series: Darlington Salvation Army appeal for sleeping bags to be donated pictured Colin Bradshaw Salvation Army minister Darlington Salvation Army appeal for sleeping bags to be donated pictured Colin Bradshaw Salvation Army minister

BENEFITS reforms and austere times are leaving scores of Darlington residents vulnerable, according to a Salvation Army minister.

Since its opening last September, a weekend support service offering food parcels and sleeping bags has had almost 300 people through its doors.

In one case, a pensioner in her 70s was given a sleeping bag for warmth after changes to her pension following the death of her husband left her unable to afford to heat her home.

Another woman cried when she received her sleeping bag – she had been sleeping under a ragged curtain for months after fleeing her partner and seeking shelter on the couches of friends.

One person sought help saying their benefits had been sanctioned and money stopped after a hospital stay meant they missed an appointment with their job centre.

A war veteran too traumatised to spend time indoors was given help and assistance.

Those seeking such support in Darlington cannot be stereotyped, according to Captain Colin Bradshaw.

The majority are women and most are aged between 35 and 55 – aside from that, the service users range from pensioners to rough sleepers, abuse victims and those who have fallen on hard times as a result of job losses or benefit sanctions.

Cpt Bradshaw said: “I have heard all sorts of traumatic stories. There are so many people who are ashamed to be here.

“People feel degraded and neglected, let down by the system. These people have worked most of their lives and are decent people who have literally fallen on hard times and suddenly have no means of income.

“People are being pushed into poverty by benefit reform.”

The service – run by the Salvation Army’s Darlington Citadel – has now launched a sleeping bag appeal.

Cpt Bradshaw said: “Our sleeping bags are literally saving lives. We have more than 200 people who are actually living in them, not just going to bed in them.”

The aim of the appeal is to raise £2,100, which will allow the service to buy 300 sleeping bags at lower summer prices.

Donations of money, sleeping bags and food can be posted to Darlington Salvation Army, Thompson St East, DL1 3EW or dropped there between 10am and 11.30am on a Saturday.

All cash donations will go solely towards the purchase of sleeping bags and food.

Comments (6)

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6:34pm Thu 8 May 14

Jonn says...

I live in a terraced street of small 2 bed properties in Darlington town centre. There are now 3 or 4 perfectly good houses that have been stood empty for months directly because of the benefit changes. The old tennants moved out because they couldn't afford it anymore and nobody wants to move into them as they are unaffordable for singles or couples and too small for larger families.
Great work by the Government!!
I live in a terraced street of small 2 bed properties in Darlington town centre. There are now 3 or 4 perfectly good houses that have been stood empty for months directly because of the benefit changes. The old tennants moved out because they couldn't afford it anymore and nobody wants to move into them as they are unaffordable for singles or couples and too small for larger families. Great work by the Government!! Jonn
  • Score: -1

7:08pm Thu 8 May 14

laboursfoe says...

Jonn wrote:
I live in a terraced street of small 2 bed properties in Darlington town centre. There are now 3 or 4 perfectly good houses that have been stood empty for months directly because of the benefit changes. The old tennants moved out because they couldn't afford it anymore and nobody wants to move into them as they are unaffordable for singles or couples and too small for larger families.
Great work by the Government!!
Why couldn't the people afford these??

Is is because the landlords decided they wouldn't reduce the rent to the sensible cap or is there another reason?? Perhaps part of the reason is that private renters perhaps don't wasn't to live in that street or those houses. The landlords will have to readjust their prices to allow benefit claimants to afford them as it will make more spence to have remnants and a smaller profit than them standing empty.

What should the government do then?? Pay over the odds so that people can remain in overpriced houses??
[quote][p][bold]Jonn[/bold] wrote: I live in a terraced street of small 2 bed properties in Darlington town centre. There are now 3 or 4 perfectly good houses that have been stood empty for months directly because of the benefit changes. The old tennants moved out because they couldn't afford it anymore and nobody wants to move into them as they are unaffordable for singles or couples and too small for larger families. Great work by the Government!![/p][/quote]Why couldn't the people afford these?? Is is because the landlords decided they wouldn't reduce the rent to the sensible cap or is there another reason?? Perhaps part of the reason is that private renters perhaps don't wasn't to live in that street or those houses. The landlords will have to readjust their prices to allow benefit claimants to afford them as it will make more spence to have remnants and a smaller profit than them standing empty. What should the government do then?? Pay over the odds so that people can remain in overpriced houses?? laboursfoe
  • Score: 0

9:10am Fri 9 May 14

MartinMo says...

“People are being pushed into poverty by benefit reform.”

What a pile of drivel, these people are already living in poverty, any benefits they receive lift them out of poverty, even if only by a little. Are they thankful for what they receive, no, in fact the total opposite, they complain they are never getting enough and up in arms when they receive less than expected.

That line should read, "Working class people are being pushed into poverty by taxation in order to subsidise an over generous benefit system". This is more accurate and truthful.

As for housing comments, when claiming housing benefit/social housing why should you get to pick what house you get, regardless of rental charges, it goes against the old saying, "beggars cant be choosers". Therer are many working class families whom would love to move in better housing areas or buy a bigger house but are unable due to subsidising yet another benefit system through taxaxtion.
“People are being pushed into poverty by benefit reform.” What a pile of drivel, these people are already living in poverty, any benefits they receive lift them out of poverty, even if only by a little. Are they thankful for what they receive, no, in fact the total opposite, they complain they are never getting enough and up in arms when they receive less than expected. That line should read, "Working class people are being pushed into poverty by taxation in order to subsidise an over generous benefit system". This is more accurate and truthful. As for housing comments, when claiming housing benefit/social housing why should you get to pick what house you get, regardless of rental charges, it goes against the old saying, "beggars cant be choosers". Therer are many working class families whom would love to move in better housing areas or buy a bigger house but are unable due to subsidising yet another benefit system through taxaxtion. MartinMo
  • Score: 7

12:23pm Fri 9 May 14

LUSTARD says...

funny world when the sally army cant get 2000 grand for warmth and food for a human, but the dogs trust get over 1 million a week for the pooch all wrong i suggest the old boy pops round to the trust and asks for a little spare cash,,, all invested wisely by the way, i reckon theyd tell him to **** off
funny world when the sally army cant get 2000 grand for warmth and food for a human, but the dogs trust get over 1 million a week for the pooch all wrong i suggest the old boy pops round to the trust and asks for a little spare cash,,, all invested wisely by the way, i reckon theyd tell him to **** off LUSTARD
  • Score: 3

5:36pm Fri 9 May 14

Awake-in-Darlo says...

MartinMo wrote:
“People are being pushed into poverty by benefit reform.”

What a pile of drivel, these people are already living in poverty, any benefits they receive lift them out of poverty, even if only by a little. Are they thankful for what they receive, no, in fact the total opposite, they complain they are never getting enough and up in arms when they receive less than expected.

That line should read, "Working class people are being pushed into poverty by taxation in order to subsidise an over generous benefit system". This is more accurate and truthful.

As for housing comments, when claiming housing benefit/social housing why should you get to pick what house you get, regardless of rental charges, it goes against the old saying, "beggars cant be choosers". Therer are many working class families whom would love to move in better housing areas or buy a bigger house but are unable due to subsidising yet another benefit system through taxaxtion.
What a simplistic view of the world you have MartinMo. Not all people who find themselves in receipt of Benefits are workshy yobs as you imply.
Obviously you have little insight into the system of claiming Jobseekers Allowance or what it is like to lose your job by redundancy for example.I agree there have always been a minority who seem to get away with things, at ALL LEVELS of society as it happens. e.g.wealthy Tax dodgers !
FACT: Government policy has put a lot of people out into the community who should be residing in sheltered communal accomodation because they are ill-equipped to cope as well as some of us. But there are few such places. FACT : It costs approaching £1000 to begin a tenancy due to various admin charges, advance rent etc. If it`s a council property, extra cost for having an un-used bedroom. Thats why people cannot afford to rent.. FACT : where are all the so-called jobs which people are allegedly turning down? Getting even an interview these days is a rarity .
Do your homework before being so judgemental. Or volunteer at the CAB
There are no free handouts.A lot of what you see is down to credit/debts.
[quote][p][bold]MartinMo[/bold] wrote: “People are being pushed into poverty by benefit reform.” What a pile of drivel, these people are already living in poverty, any benefits they receive lift them out of poverty, even if only by a little. Are they thankful for what they receive, no, in fact the total opposite, they complain they are never getting enough and up in arms when they receive less than expected. That line should read, "Working class people are being pushed into poverty by taxation in order to subsidise an over generous benefit system". This is more accurate and truthful. As for housing comments, when claiming housing benefit/social housing why should you get to pick what house you get, regardless of rental charges, it goes against the old saying, "beggars cant be choosers". Therer are many working class families whom would love to move in better housing areas or buy a bigger house but are unable due to subsidising yet another benefit system through taxaxtion.[/p][/quote]What a simplistic view of the world you have MartinMo. Not all people who find themselves in receipt of Benefits are workshy yobs as you imply. Obviously you have little insight into the system of claiming Jobseekers Allowance or what it is like to lose your job by redundancy for example.I agree there have always been a minority who seem to get away with things, at ALL LEVELS of society as it happens. e.g.wealthy Tax dodgers ! FACT: Government policy has put a lot of people out into the community who should be residing in sheltered communal accomodation because they are ill-equipped to cope as well as some of us. But there are few such places. FACT : It costs approaching £1000 to begin a tenancy due to various admin charges, advance rent etc. If it`s a council property, extra cost for having an un-used bedroom. Thats why people cannot afford to rent.. FACT : where are all the so-called jobs which people are allegedly turning down? Getting even an interview these days is a rarity . Do your homework before being so judgemental. Or volunteer at the CAB There are no free handouts.A lot of what you see is down to credit/debts. Awake-in-Darlo
  • Score: 0

8:46am Wed 14 May 14

MartinMo says...

Fact - I did not imply anything, however you used the word workshy, so if the hat fits.

Fact - I have a fairly large insight as I have been there, out of work with no income after working for 24 years solid. 24 years of taxation and NI payments and just what could I claim, nothing, not a single penny because I had saved money with the intention of buying my own house.

Tax Dodgers - someone clever enough to find a loop hole in the system which prevents his money being stolen at source and redistributed to the less deserving.

Fact - there is not enough sheltered communial accomodation, not that it makes much difference as many of those wanting housing will refuse to reside in them, especially if they have families and demand housing - a case of beggars being choosers.

Fact - there are not as many jobs out there as we are lead to believe but with the right frame of mind you stand a better chance of getting one. I am now on my 3rd employer and only spent 2 months out of work in the last 28 years. Go sit in the job centre and just listen to interviews going on around you, some of the excuses for not taking offered employment are pathetic at best with my all time favourite being that they would in fact be no better off (at times worse off) monetary wise if they took the position.
Fact - I did not imply anything, however you used the word workshy, so if the hat fits. Fact - I have a fairly large insight as I have been there, out of work with no income after working for 24 years solid. 24 years of taxation and NI payments and just what could I claim, nothing, not a single penny because I had saved money with the intention of buying my own house. Tax Dodgers - someone clever enough to find a loop hole in the system which prevents his money being stolen at source and redistributed to the less deserving. Fact - there is not enough sheltered communial accomodation, not that it makes much difference as many of those wanting housing will refuse to reside in them, especially if they have families and demand housing - a case of beggars being choosers. Fact - there are not as many jobs out there as we are lead to believe but with the right frame of mind you stand a better chance of getting one. I am now on my 3rd employer and only spent 2 months out of work in the last 28 years. Go sit in the job centre and just listen to interviews going on around you, some of the excuses for not taking offered employment are pathetic at best with my all time favourite being that they would in fact be no better off (at times worse off) monetary wise if they took the position. MartinMo
  • Score: 0

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