BY JAMES TWOMEY
A disabled man is being evicted from his temporary accommodation after town hall officials told him he made himself “intentionally homeless” when he was jailed for four years.
Terence Timothy, 51, uses a wheelchair as a result of a spinal injury in 2004 and has been told by Greenwich council to leave his emergency accommodation in Thornton Heath and search within the “private sector” for a new home.
Mr Timothy had lived in a Greenwich council property in Ampleforth Road since 2005, but in 2013 he was convicted for firing a crossbow arrow into another person’s leg.
Mr Timothy but was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years – he served four years at HMP Belmarsh. On his release, Mr Timothy searched for accommodation in Essex before returning to Greenwich council who have housed him in temporary accommodation for a year.
But on March 30 the council wrote to Mr Timothy to tell him they would not be providing accommodation anymore as he had made himself “intentionally homeless” when he made the decision to shoot someone with a crossbow.
The letter said: “You made the choice to fire the crossbow at the person and this was a deliberate act that led to your conviction and the subsequent loss of your property. “Had you not made this choice the offence would not have been committed and the accommodation would have continued to be available to you. Therefore you are intentionally homeless”.
Mr Timothy said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted. Everyone I know is amazed at this decision. I’ve been told to leave the flat on June 6 and I don’t know where to go. No idea whatsoever. I’m classed as a vulnerable adult but social services haven’t found me anywhere.
“If I don’t get any help I’ll be out on the street. I don’t know which way to go. I’m in a wheelchair and I suffer from sores so I need helpers every day to come and see me. I’m in agony every day and I need to be in a special accommodation for my needs.”
Mr Timothy says the letter he received telling him he was to be evicted didn’t arrive until 10 days after it had been dated, leaving him with only 11 days to respond with a defence.
In a letter to the council, Mr Timothy’s doctor said: “Mr Timothy informs me that he is experiencing depressive type symptoms as a result of his health and his housing situation.
“I would appreciate it if you could take his medical concerns into account which I do believe should be given a significant weighting when trying to make a decision with regards to his housing needs.”
A Greenwich council spokeswoman said: “We arranged temporary accommodation for Mr Timothy in Croydon, pending our assessment to determine his housing need.
“We have since established that he lost his settled accommodation as a result of serving a prison sentence, and though we are aware that he denies the offence and subsequently lodged an appeal, this conviction has been upheld.
“Our decision to find Mr Timothy intentionally homeless in accordance with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, is reflective of the facts pertaining to his conviction and our application of the relevant law.
The decision was finalised on April 30, 2019 after Mr Timothy failed to challenge our decision.
“To support Mr Timothy in finding alternative accommodation, we advised that he search within the private sector and provided him with advice about Local Housing Allowance rates.
“During his time in temporary accommodation, Mr Timothy has accessed social care services from Croydon council for his mobility needs.
“Croydon council have confirmed he has a care plan in place, they are also aware that his temporary accommodation ends on June 2, 2019 and are actively trying to assist him.
Mr Timothy is still able to access advice from Royal Greenwich.”