Monday, 9 April 2012

Open Letter to the Chairman of the Trustees , Crisis

Steve Holliday
Chief  Executive, National Grid
National Grid House
Warwick Technolgy Park
Gallows Hill Warwick  CV34 6DA

9 April 2012

Dear Mr Holliday

I write to you as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the homelessness charity, Crisis. 
I hope by now you will have seen the letter I wrote to Grant Shapps requesting that all future money  for the Crisis / Shelter Private Rented Sector schemes to "end homelessness" be suspended pending  the review of Sir Adrian Montague's  call for consultation into the lack of interest and investment in the Private Rented Sector. I asked Lesley Morphy to send you a copy of this letter but she has not yet confirmed that she has done so.

Crisis are actually doing more damage than  good and while no one wishes to detract from the excellent policy and research which they conduct,  they are neither equipped or  able to deal with the practicalities of putting single homeless people into the Private Rented Sector. Some of the campaigns that have depicted all landlords as criminals  and sustaining low outcomes by their own measures simply serve to highlight the lack of credibility or engagement with private landlords.

I seek that you ask the Board of Trustees to ask the Government to suspend the funding until Crisis outcomes have been independently monitored and assessed by a firm of chartered accountants or a body which specialises in measuring social, economic and human returns on investment as this leaky charity bucket model is not sustainable. I have received a very unsatisfactory response from DCLG which simply states Crisis has to report to DCLG every quarter  and find on its outcomes. There is no transparency in this response, the figures released by the DCLG contradict those released by Crisis in their response to my open letter and the outcomes in any event, are pathetic given the disproportionate amount of funding bunged at this issue to Crisis by Government. I am seeking that the last three reports be released under the Freedom of Information Act as a matter of urgency as it is in the public interest. I will be looking at Judicial Review as to how the funding was allocated to Crisis in the first place, on whether any impact assessment was made or any consultation was undertaken and also asking the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the Private Rented Sector funding Crisis and Shelter receive.

I would also like to find out, and ask that you respond to me,  what percentage of the money given to Crisis by DCLG for "ending homelessness" is ringfenced and what the costs are of the ten most highly paid staff at CRISIS are and whether any Government grant money meant to be used for the Private Rented Sector  is used for these as proportioned expenses.

Finally, I would like you to ask your Director of Policy Duncan Shrubsole,  to stop his ridiculous campaigning against me. It is unimpressive and makes him look like a bully. I have never denied my criminal convictions and yes, one of them was indeed for Housing Benefit fraud. This offence was committed in a situation of domestic violence, in 2008,  the circumstances of which the Court and the CPS refused to mitigate but which looked both mean and vindictive when it came to sentencing and  Franco Miccoloupo, a known drug dealer and serial  criminal who was the perpetrator of both actual violence and threats against me and my young children refused to come back to the UK for a Newton Hearing as a star witness for the CPS. I have learned not only from my mistakes but also from personal experiences about the lack of provision and the preponderance of academics and social policy makers with absolutely no experience of how the system is stacked particularly against women. I do not see myself as a victim and have not fully recounted this previously in the public domain  as it was both painful and I felt shame around it however my debt to society is repaid and I have as much right, if not more, than he, to make my voice and opinion heard in this fractious and contentious issue of homelessness and access to the private rented sector  which hopefully, this Government has decided to grasp by the nettle and finally deal with. It is easy to pick up on the tabloid version of events with no knowledge or concern as to why I committed those offences at a particularly difficult time in my life when I just wanted o get my children back and living with me, post a prison sentence.

I do  look forward to hearing from you and hope you will view this letter as it was written with good intentions and from a place of concern because every day I meet  or encounter single homeless people who are being let down by Crisis by NOT providing accommodation and frankly doing everything they can to keep people disempowered, vulnerable and benefit dependent. I am sure you agree as a society this is no longer sustainable for us and is in fact quite cruel against a backdrop of Big Society and social action.

Kind regards

Farah Damji
Director, Kazuri Properties Ltd

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Sunday. A most extraordinary day. Walk down Bow Road, fall into this painting it calls me into a derelict house full of passion and painterly perspectives. Richard Sleeman, art genius, new art central lends me his eyes and his vision. Found it a perfect home in our new office in Feather Mews, Whitechapel, what better icon?