COVID-19: Developing our Community Response

 

Housing Advice

We are working with Manchester Tenants Union, Greater Manchester Housing Action and other campaigners to ensure that no-one loses their home as a result of the current crisis.   The Judiciary’s decision to suspend all possession action until the 25th June is welcome – the key question remains what happens then? We are working to support grass community assistance programmes and develop and strengthen structures that will ensure that tenants are organised both during the crisis and beyond.

This will involve GMLC developing advice and information materials, training and  resources for tenant activist as well increasing our capacity to provide direct advice and representation where necessary.

We urge people to get involved in this campaign; whether you can support GMLC and its advice, support the campaign or join the Tenants Union in their fight for housing justice.

The Tenants Union’s aim is to build powerful relationships between renters and tenants, creating housing justice through education, advocacy, leadership development and local organising.
Join the campaign to demand a fairer system for renters with their Renters Manifesto project, with legal,
political and social demands to end the housing crisis and revolutionise the unjust housing system:
Help us change this and get involved!

 

Employment Advice

Unsurprisingly we have seen a significant increase in demand for employment advice given the massive uncertainty faced by millions of workers. We are working with volunteers from Kenworthys’ Chambers and others to provide additional employment advice surgeries over the coming weeks – can you help? 

 

Benefits Advice

Whilst the Government increased Universal Credit to £94 a week, it is not increasing so called legacy benefits that are still paid to millions of people.
GMLC is supporting a legal challenge to this – are you in receipt of Income Support, ESA or JSA you could help – please contact benefits@gmlaw.org.uk 

 

 


Want to support your community? Here’s how:

 

The Volunteering GM website can help you find local organisations to register an interest in volunteering in your community.

They will talk to you about what you could do, and try to connect you with a suitable volunteering role. There is also information about other ways you can help – being a good neighbour, organising support in your own community and some things to bear in mind to keep you and those around you safe.

Click here to be taken to the Volunteering GM website to find out more.

 

 

 


COVID-19: Making Homelessness Applications

 

 

We understand that some local authorities across Greater Manchester have or will be closing their face to face homelessness assessment services.

This doesn’t mean that people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness cannot make homelessness applications. Applications can be made by phone or by e-mail.

We know that they are under enormous pressure, but local authorities have a statutory duty to provide immediate suitable accommodation for anyone who they have reason to believe may be homeless, eligible for assistance and in priority need (eg because they have children or are vulnerable) and this duty continues until a decision is made about what longer term duties they are owed.

In the current circumstances, homeless people should expect that local authorities will exercise this duty, together with their other powers, to protect their health and that of others wherever possible and get people into accommodation that can meet their needs.

We have advice sheets and a template homelessness application available here. The template is designed to prompt people to answer the questions that the homelessness assessor should ask and to make sure that the local authority have the information they need to make a fair decision about what rights homeless people have to accommodation.

Greater Manchester Law Centre are happy to help anyone who wants to make a homelessness application to any of the Greater Manchester local authorities by e-mail. We can take information over the phone, complete the homelessness application for them and send by e-mail to the homelessness department.

If you would like to refer anyone in this situation, please contact us either by e-mail housing@gmlaw.org.uk or phone 0161 769 2244.

 


Solidarity not Sympathy!

Developing a community response to the coronavirus crisis

 

Despite the fact that we await full details of the Government’s response to the current crisis: the fact remains it will be the poorest and most vulnerable in our community that will be most impacted.

Whilst GMLC is providing remote advice; we are keen to work with other community and campaigning organisations to ensure that we can provide support and solidarity to each other at this challenging time and ensure that everyone has access to justice.

We are already seeing a community response with people organising in their communities and commend this action . At GMLC we are committed to supporting these initiatives and ensure that people have access to legal remedies as needed. If you know of:

  • Tenants being served with eviction notices either in public or private sector
  • Individuals being sanctioned or having issues accessing benefits

Please get in touch –  housing enquiries to housing@gmlaw.org.uk and any benefits enquiries to benefits@gmlaw.org.uk  

We are also developing an emergency employment advice service which we are hoping to have in place by Monday 23rd March.

Please keep in touch with developments via our website – we have established a community update page to provide information on community, legal and campaigning developments over the coming weeks.
Please see www.gmlaw.org.uk/community updates for further info.