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Woman living in hostel is threatened with homelessness in 'shocking note' delivered by council worker

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 March 2019

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz described the incident as shameful and embarrassing. Pic: Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz described the incident as shameful and embarrassing. Pic: Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz

Rokhsana Fiaz

An internal investigation has been launched after Newham Council staff allegedly delivered a “shocking” note to a woman living in a Stratford hostel that said she could be made homeless.

The woman had been living in Victoria House, formally known as Brimstone House, when the “scrap of paper” was shoved through the door of her bedsit, Newham’s Cabinet meeting heard.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz described the incident as “shameful and embarrassing” and said it “undermined” her administration.

It is a situation that should not have happened,” she said.

“The incident concerned was the distribution of a very shocking note written bold type face on a scrappy piece of paper and hand delivered through the letterbox of a resident.

“Basically it demanded that she be in touch with the council and if she wasn’t she was at risk of being homelessness. As soon as it was drawn to my attention I enlisted the councillors in charge of homelessness [to investigate].

“There is an internal investigation underway and it transpires that a member of staff regretfully issued that note and it has been communicated very strongly to officers senior officers that this shouldn’t have happened. It places the new administration in a compromising position.”

The hostel, in Victoria Street, has been the subject of much media scrutiny since it was bought by the council in 2016.

The campaign group Focus E15 was set up there after conditions were described as “like a prison” under the council’s last administration.

Ms Fiaz added: “[This incident] undermines every thing we are working towards. I feel massively let down and ashamed that this happened. I would ask officer colleagues to reflect on why this has happened and ensure that this practice is rooted out, because I am not going to tolerate it any more.”

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