20 Comments
Dec 17, 2023Liked by Joshi Herrmann

Very interesting article, clearly well researched. I'm still pondering his motives. Removing public sector provision in favour of private always bound to lead here

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Thanks Jackie. Yeah his motives are fascinating to me too. But I think ultimately the systemic question is more important - people shouldn't be able to string up companies like this and take on the lives of so many vulnerable people.

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Dec 17, 2023Liked by Joshi Herrmann

Thanks for this detailed bit of investigative journalism!

I've been of the opinion for some time that these Exempt Accommodation schemes are ripe for abuse by unscrupulous people as a way to rinse local authorities and make huge sums of money, while providing little in the way of support.

It also has a knock-on effect in the housing market, especially for renters, as greedy landlords and companies snap-up properties, knowing they can rent them to councils above the going-rate. Which means there are fewer rental properties available for private individuals, which in turn then drives up rental rates.

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Good point. Should have included that point.

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Dec 17, 2023Liked by Joshi Herrmann

Thanks for this long informative read into the murky dealings of supported living. It sounds like the whole concept needs a massive overhaul . Local authorities need to be clear about who they are paying these extra payments to , it all seems a bit lax to me.

One thing is certain the homeless people are the biggest losers in all this but guess what ,local authorities don't have endless money supply. Government grants, payments and taxpayers money is being showered upon individuals such as this man in the form of higher housing benefit. Where are the checks and balances to prevent this kind of thing from happening ?

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Total absence of checks and balances, is my impression. Thanks for reading Anne.

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Dec 17, 2023Liked by Joshi Herrmann

Thank you for a really fascinating and well explained article. Fantastic investigative journalism that gives me a lot of confidence I'm going to be supporting a fantastic publication.

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Thanks Gavin. You certainly are.

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A very interesting read - so many layers to the duplicity. It’s very sad to see this chap doesn’t seem to take any responsibility for adding to the plight of the homeless. They needed security and a comfortable place to stay, on their way to rehabilitation and taking responsibility for themselves. I volunteer at a soup kitchen and it’s evident so many who come for a sandwich just want someone to help them navigate towards a better future. Mr Judge has set up a pyramid scheme, using one new property to finance the running of the last. It’s awful that he was allowed to repeat his self-serving model in some many cities, and the councils didn’t identify that he was causing problems across the country. Very sad to see that vulnerable people were failed so badly.

Excellent article. I’ll pledge my support now and look forward to reading more of your work.

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I run an organisation in Walsall that fills a similar niche to Lotus. After over ten years of operating we have 22 tenants who we can really support. We have no plans to grow. EA works when you follow the rules. You either do this properly or you make a huge profit.

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Cracking feature, highlighting the potential abuse of the exempt accommodation market - which is both frightening and criminal. The absolute lack of care, literally and figuratively, just leaves vulnerable more vulnerable. Or, as this story show, dead on the floor. Heartbreaking. Fair play for this story.

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Great piece and a troubling story. Hopefully this kind of thing can be swiftly blocked in the future before some other well-meaning person ends up getting their head turned by the possibility of a quick buck.

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Yeah I think the system needs proper reform. And the next government needs to accept it is going to have to pay more to create a properly accountable system.

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Dec 17, 2023·edited Dec 17, 2023

The belief that Councils are competent at providing safe and acceptable accomodation for the vulnerable is delusional.

What this sorry tale demonstrates is that they are not capable of commissioning the service from others either.

Birmingham Council has a long history of generously funding housing crooks - Harambee springs to mind, but there were others.

And Birmingham, the best part of £1bn overspent, where does the money come from for significant investment in social housing?

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I'm not sure I would blame councils. They are operating within a system designed in Whitehall. And they don't have the resources to properly scrutinise. Some blame for sure but most of this is national policy.

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Oh. I like this sort of digging. Starting from an individual, then realising that it's a systemic issue and the individual is just the symptom/case study example.

Good job. I wonder what's become of Gurpaal now?

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I worked for lotus housing and I know what went on and the fact support wasn't given is true ot wasn't

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A pyramid scheme that’s backed by government money where you don’t have to put much in up front to make millions? It’s not much wonder people are attracted to these sorts of schemes to make a quick quid.

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Greed All about making£££££access to luxury cars &homes

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Indeed. I have heard a lot about these CIC , seem to be a very low bar to establish and run. Without regulation and audit risks increase

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