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Haverhill woman fires a broadside at Home Link housing service




A woman whose need for suitable housing was mistakenly downgraded when she was faced with potential homelessness has hit out at those who made the error, describing them as a ‘shambles’ .

In February, Esta Collins, of Haverhill, had her banding with West Suffolk Council’s Home Link service, a choice-based lettings scheme for all council and housing association homes in Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk, downgraded from a higher priority B to a grade C.

A banding of B signifies that someone has a medical need and a C that they are homeless.

Esta Collins. Picture by Mark Bullimore Photography
Esta Collins. Picture by Mark Bullimore Photography

The change was made in error, said Esta, after she informed Home Link that she had changed address.

Although Esta has now received an apology from Home Link and had her banding upgraded to a B after she asked for it to be reviewed, she is angered by the service’s ‘poor decision making and lack of duty of care’.

She said: “The people they put in position as housing officers seem to have no idea what they are doing, cannot even recall the work or have the capacity to organise their work load.

“Next, comes their covering themselves from liability and refusing to be transparent.

“As a housing department and a district council they have more of a responsibility to provide for housing, yet we can see what a shambles they really are.”

Esta, 43, added that she intended to take the matter further and take some form of action against them.

In an email to Esta, a Home Link representative explained its latest decision.

“I have made this decision because although you have now moved to a different address, your health remains the same and you are still unable to get upstairs to use the bathroom in your property.

“Your priority date has been set in accordance with the report that we have from Occupational Therapy.

“I would also like to apologise for the confusion that you may have experienced as your band has changed over the past few months “


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