About

Joe Halewood is a housing consultant with over 20 years experience in and with a national profile across social housing.

Over the last few years Joe has concentrated on the evils of the welfare reform policies such as the bedroom tax and also developed the systemic flaw theory of the overall benefit cap which sees more and more tenants having their benefits levels cut each year because rents rise faster then the benefit cap. Back in 2002 and again in 2009 Joe heavily criticised the last Labour governments for the pig’s ear they made of supported housing with the Supporting People programme and most criticism is based on the economics cutting through the political spin that MPs so love to use!

Joe approaches housing issues from his supported housing background and maintains mainstream housing is about bricks and mortar, but supported housing is crucially about people; something the HB and welfare benefit reforms will emphasise to mainstream social landlords what customer service really means.  That approach enables a far more empathic appreciation of the plight of the welfare refrom affected tenant.

Social landlords cannot challenge the welfare reforms if they don’t have empathy with and know their tenants and what the welfare reforms mean in terms of impact and consequence to tenants.  If you dont approach welfare reforms from this people perspective you fail to see its full impact.  There will be a rude awakening for those who only see the bedroom tax and direct payments as threats to their income (the bricks and mortar view) and not as much bigger issues for their tenant customers that will impact far more widely on their business or the people view.

The welfare reform agenda is truly a seismic shift for social housing and yet not all of the consequences and impacts are known.  Interesting and depressing times ahead for social landlords and tenants.

If social landlords and tenants don’t challenge these reforms now there will soon be nothing left to fight for or over. Joe regularly speaks at conferences and seminars over welfare reform issues and provokes much discussion in lively debates.

Throughout 2013 and into 2014 Joe has focused on the bedroom tax working unpaid with many grassroots groups and highlighting the faults with and sought to get rid of the pernicious bedroom tax and has delivered training on their behalf raising income for them to continue their sterling work.

Please feel free to contact Joe on any of the above at welfarewrites@aol.com

The above is a new email address and comes from many compliments over how I write about the welfare reforms and put these into lay language.  I fully intend to step up my work in this area to help as many tenants as possible over the next year and I have finally decided after numerous requests to add a donate button below.  There is no obligation to donate at all and if you cant or dont I will still continue to release hopefully good advice to help. If you do wish to donate then more time can be spent advising victimised tenants on how to fight the bedroom tax and wider welfare reforms.

Donate Button with Credit CardsWelfare Writes

17 thoughts on “About

  1. Debbie Price March 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm Reply

    Hi Joe.
    I wanted to ask you some questions please??
    By now, people are starting to get their letters of their rent increase and service charge.
    Whether a Council or housing Association Tenant.

    Obviously the new rents are going to affect how much BT people are supposed to be paying.

    Could you look into this??

    I believe there could be a right to appeal the rent increase??

    I believe it depends on when your Tenancy starts???

    Mine, quotes the Housing Act 1998.

    And it says if you don’t accept the new rent, and don’t wish to discuss with your Landlord. You can refer this notice to your local rent assessment committee.
    This must be done before April 1st. Using Oyez Form HA34
    Could this backfire though if they set the rent if it were let on the open market rent??

    If so, ARE they are covering their arses.

    I have an assured Tenancy and have lived in my 3 bed HA house for over 21 years. And it has been adapted for my needs.

    My new rent is £118.01.
    I live alone now. So will have to pay 25% of that.

    Plus CT on top of that!!

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    I’m also wondering if the DWP should be contacted??
    Informing them of BT and CT that has to be paid out of our benefits.
    As it always says: This is the amount the law says you need to live on.
    Is there any process to appeal to them.
    Mr. Daft, is head of their correspondance team.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    ALSO, do you know where there is clarification of the term they use. ‘SIGNIFICANTLY’ adapted???

  2. Jill Sharp April 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Hi Joe

    Everyone seems to be focusing on what constitutes a “bedroom”. Myself and my hubby are classed as having a spare room. We live in a 2 bedroomed house, but don’t share a bedroom. Hubby is disabled and due to his condition doesn’t sleep well. I was sexually abused as a child and don’t want to share a bedroom with him. No-one from the council or the Housing Association asked how we used our rooms. Its just been assumed that as a couple we can share a bedroom. This is NOT the case. How do we challenge the decision and make an appeal?

    Jill

  3. brianirving7 April 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm Reply

    Find Joes other blog at SPeye, click on the logo and get reading !

  4. Debbie Price April 10, 2013 at 9:31 am Reply

    Hi Joe, urgent help needed please on how to appeal refusal of DHP.
    Any ideas please??
    I’ve left a post on the relevant page.

  5. Kaycee Is-loveable April 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm Reply

    personally I would advice to just reapply, and keep doing so, if you know your entitled to the extra room and can not live without it, aka health reasons etc if you do not need it then why not look at moving,

  6. Kaycee Is-loveable April 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm Reply

    if you have a disability that means you require a carer to come and stay with you, then you can have the room for that reason,
    If the owner of the page could message me direct i could upload some information that is direct from MP office,
    Also the gov also accept ( same as in DLA and carer allowance ) a carer can be a friend or family member who does not normally live with you,

    • joehalewood April 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm Reply

      You can claim a spare room for a non-resident carer if you are the tenant or the tenants partner but not for example if your child requires a non-resident carer. The details can be found in the A4 of 2010 HB circular

  7. Lisa Karaoke-Robinson May 2, 2013 at 12:39 am Reply

    Exactly Joe… which is what I am fighting for right now. My daughter is 18 & we need our ‘spare’ room for a sleep-in carer a few times every month (the only sleep we get). So they tell me, because the paid-carer is not continuous, we are therefore not exempt. As if ‘normal’ people can afford a full-time paid-for carer!! Yet David Cameron spouted that anyone reqiring continual care would be exempt…. so very NOT true, as my daughter requires care & supervision both day & night… but as that care is mainly provided by us, her parents, and our sleep-in carer is not every night…We are therefore not exempt, and the fact that she DOES need continual care seemingly will not count!
    Tried to add my daughter to our tenancy last year to give her some security should anything happen to us, but they refused, saying her disabilities would prevent her from understanding & maintaining the tenancy. Thus, if she can never be a tenant, she would never be exempt from the spare bedroom farce anyway under the current rules!! So much for equality for disabled people, eh?!

  8. Robert-Silvia Claridge May 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm Reply

    Joe, I have a response from Wirral Council to the six-point ‘request for information’ letter which I would like please to share with you for your comments. Please advise me how to do this. Robert Claridge, South Wirral Against the Bedroom Tax 07956 458 331

  9. Sue Berrisford October 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm Reply

    Joe – I regularly scan your pages for information about bedroom tax, however, I never hear any mention of STUDENTS. I am a single parent living in a 3 bedroomed house and both my sons have made it to university. My local authority, Chichester District Council, determine that I am underoccupying and that I should downsize to a one bedroom home. The first and most obvious question that everybody asks is “Where are they supposed to go during the holidays” Quite so. How many home owning parents say to their sons/daughters, in their very first week at university, “Right, that’s it, we don’t expect to see you back home again” ?
    I have appealed against their decision and have to send my response to the Tribunals Service next week
    I’d really love to hear your thoughts
    Sue Berrisford
    07788 600673

    • joehalewood October 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm Reply

      Sue

      This area is very much up for debate. The official guidance in the A4/2012 says this : –

      “My child is away at university, can I keep their room for when they are home in the holidays? The new size limit rules do not allow for this, unless the absence is temporary (less than thirteen weeks or 52 weeks for students) and the young person concerned intends to return home.”

      It suggests and should be argued that if your son(s) are away at university but intend to return home then a room should be allocated for them in terms of housing need.

  10. Tony Joyce December 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm Reply

    Joe

    Just a quick thank you for all your posts about the hated bedroom tax. My partner was successful at an appeal tribunal in Birkenhead last week in respect of a 66ft square ‘spare’ room in her Plus Dane ground floor flat.

    The appeal was largely based upon

    > historic and current use of the room as a dressing room
    > the history of the complex (ex pensioner accommodation)
    > current and historic use of the same room in the other identical flats (never used as
    bedrooms in any of the other flats)
    > size – not big enough to furnish in the way you would expect a ‘bedroom’ to be furnished;
    for example couldn’t fit in wardrobe and dressing table as well as a bed
    > Fife first tier tribunal decisions
    > too small for a lodger

    We wouldn’t have even appealed if it wasn’t for your posts. So the fact that we did, and that we had the material to support the appeal is purely down to you. So thanks again.

    • joehalewood December 18, 2013 at 12:48 am Reply

      Tony – sent you an email be good to speak with you over this Joe

  11. Ruth Knox December 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm Reply

    This is great news. I’m trying to keep track of all the positive bedroom tax decisions, and if there is any way we can have the full decision on the blog that would be great. Even better if there is a statement of reasons. Ruth Knox

    • joehalewood December 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm Reply

      Hi Ruth

      Yes was a surprise to me this one too and I have asked the person to contact me over it. As usual the tenant can be fully anonymised and I am sure they will want their specific cases publicised so that many more vulnerable people affected by the bedroom tax can take heart from it and appeal too.

  12. nivekd March 28, 2014 at 5:50 pm Reply

    Joe: brilliant post but can you correct a few typos so we can share?

    Esther McVey merely talks pants and clearly she does not wear them else they would be on fire! Yes IT’S another of the bedroom tax bullshit stories emanating from McVey and probably a good reason why she doesn’t wear knickers though she clearly has a fur cost WITH (?) all the spin (aka superficial bullshit) she comes out with

    Ta

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