Exeter City Council removes homeless man’s belongings without warning
A homeless man was given no prior warning when Exeter City Council removed his tent and other belongings while he was elsewhere.
On November 12, Matthew Bending, 45, discovered his possessions had been taken and disposed of by the council.
Matthew became homeless during the pandemic and had been pitching his tent in a secluded spot near Exeter College. He had tried to be respectful and tidy and was shocked to find all his belongings gone.
Speaking to Devon Live he said, “I was told [the Council] wouldn’t replace it or my belongings because it was illegally pitched. I have been told that they are supposed to give you 24 hours notice before they remove it.”
The council has continued to enforce their homelessness policy despite the additional stress and harm it might be causing during the pandemic.
they are supposed to give you 24 hours notice.
Matthew, who says he feels “mentally unstable,” has taken to sleeping in shop doorways instead of temporary accommodation as the latter can be costly and crowded. He said, “I have got a deposit to put down and have been looking for rooms, but I have not been able to find any yet due to my circumstances of being homeless and unemployed. I am signed off on long term sickness.
“As soon as you tell someone you are on DSS [benefits], you are discriminated against.”
The government has provided £15 million of additional funding to local councils to house rough sleepers. However, this is less than the amount provided during the first lockdown and is unlikely to cover the increase in homelessness over the coming months.
Editor: Emily Im