Sanctuary Housing – ceilings fall in and nobody cares

Ceiling collapses after two weeks in new Sanctuary house, late 2017

“I was heavily pregnant… had to be the worst thing to happen to me..”

“Sanctuary Housing – UK Leading Provider of Affordable and Social Housing”

poundsignuk

A tax-exempt housing group making £40-50 million per year, fully supported by the government.

See earlier blogs A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing and Housing association complaints – no regulation of service quality!

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, there’s been increasing mutterings about the horrendous state of UK social housing but still no exposure of large, unregulated, (existing regulation is a bad joke) rip-off housing associations like Sanctuary.

COME ON MPs AND MEDIA PEOPLE, WHERE ARE YOU? Preoccupied with Brexit, all you MPs? (A few spoke out in a newspaper article earlier this year, no action since) Not sexy enough for you, mainstream journalists? (A few have scratched the surface this year, well done Channel 4 Dispatches on lack of regulation, full marks to John Harris for articles in The Guardian but why no follow-ups since?) WHAT ARE YOU ALL WAITING FOR, ANOTHER GRENFELL, OR SOMETHING SIMILAR? With current government policy, the problem is not going to go away. How much longer can you all ignore this?

August 2018 update: Social housing Green Paper published. Nice words, the government has to look like they’re doing something after the Grenfell tragedy. Unfortunately and predictably, absolutely nothing about the required large-scale building of genuinely affordable homes. Will the proposals in the paper lead to REAL ACTION TO STOP THE ROT with rogue social landlords like Sanctuary? There are massive systemic problems caused by, amongst other things, government neglect for many years. Incompetent and often diabolical treatment of vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, is common. Some recent media coverage of rip-off profit-driven housing associations – another Channel 4 Dispatches (Getting Rich from the Housing Crisis) featured Hyde Housing in July and there was a recent piece in the Observer featuring L&Q (London and Quadrant) – Raw sewage, no water – but service costs still rise for L&Q tenants

Two CBEs on the Sanctuary Group Board

Sanctuary Chief Executive, David Bennett. £356K CBE (retired in January 2019)

Chair of Group Housing Committee, Trudi Elliott, CBE

 

There are over 2000 people across several independent Sanctuary Housing facebook complaint groups. There are 1600 in the most active (and closed) group. Help and support for anyone struggling with this terrible company – Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide

Hyde Housing is another staggeringly incompetent and corrupt housing group – nearly 1800 in the residents open facebook complaints group – Hyde Housing Independent Resident Group

More pictures of a collapsed ceiling recently posted in another fb group (one young woman and a 4 year old living in the home) this time for Riverside Housing AssociationRiverside Housing Association / Evolve Complaints, Comments and Suggestions

Plenty of serious complaints on the Peabody housing association fb page too – Peabody

Social housing – particularly when owned by large housing associations – appears to be collapsing. Sometimes literally. These organizations are too big, too greedy and frequently inhuman. My summary of Sanctuary bad practice, from a 2014 previous blog of mine seems to cover most of it:-

poundsigns1. Illegal and morally questionable practices.
2. Repairs being done very badly, or not at all.
3. Many properties in very bad condition, sometimes unfit for human habitation.
4. Complaints going missing and being ignored.
5. Blatant lying and dishonest manipulation of language in order to deflect complaints.
6. Bullying, harassment and bad treatment of tenants, including the elderly and disabled.
7. Inadequate soundproofing.
8. Bad communication and a lack of consultation with communities.
9. The lowering of service standards as a result of Sanctuary takeovers.
10. Bullying and mismanagement of Sanctuary’s own staff.

 

A small sample of recent Sanctuary complaints:-

 

 

A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing

Sanctuary

Time to expose this relentlessly appalling organization and others like it.

See 2019 blog Deaths, incompetence and lies – the multimillion pound housing associations destroying lives

It’s now 2016 and as you can see below, Sanctuary Housing are still up to their tricks. There is no effective regulation stopping them, so they can keep getting away with it – the likes of the Homes and Communities Agency and the Housing Ombudsman have no serious interest in complaints. This is a nationwide corporate rip-off scandal (so far almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media) if ever there was one. I have heard that some of the other large housing groups can be just as bad e.g. Hyde Housing, Affinity Sutton, Metropolitan and others. Perhaps all part of the Conservative government’s long-term plans to privatise social housing? Run it all into the ground and bring in non-affordable affordable homes and more private landlords to save the day? And generally make the housing crisis worse? In the meantime people are suffering – big time.

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group, from which the edited posts here are taken. It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it. (To Sanctuary staff who genuinely do their best, keep up the good work. I know from my own experience that it’s not an easy area to work in.) The group now has over 600 members:-

Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide (over 800 members as at December 2016)

poundsignukSince I first came across them in 2008, it has become obvious that thousands of people (including the elderly and vulnerable) have had their lives ruined by this frequently uncaring and incompetent organization. Unbelievably, Sanctuary is a registered charity – so they don’t pay tax. Even more unbelievably, Chief Executive David Bennett was made a CBE for services to social housing in 2015. Given the Sanctuary performance shown below, perhaps he is now due for a knighthood?

Sanctuary Group Executive.David Bennett FCA, CCMI, Group Chief Executive.For Sanctuary Group

Sanctuary Chief Executive, David Bennett. £340K and a CBE in 2015 – for THIS!? (see below)

Sanctuary Group make millions. For the year 2013-2014, the landlord reported a surplus of £42.6 million. (Inside Housing 1.10.14)

In one way or another, thousands of people in their 100,000 homes are being shafted by this company. Do everything you can, an e-mail to Watchdog achieves nothing by itself. Go through their complaints procedure until you are completely satisfied, or write to your MP and make sure they follow it through, contact local and national media with detailed documentation, go to Citizens Advice, Environmental Health, local councillors. Try to stay calm and strong, you are not alone! Demand that Sanctuary stop causing you and others so much suffering. Please do it people, don’t let them bully you.

Here is the link to the facebook group again:- Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide

A typical complaint on Twitter

A typical complaint on Twitter

A SMALL SAMPLE OF COMPLAINTS FROM JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2016

“We beat them once in court, now winning again. They are only interested in their bank balance not our children’s safety”

“I was waiting 12 years (in the end I gave up and moved out) and they blamed me for breathing moisture/being in flat all day….I worked 65 hours a week so how did they figure that out! They are now charging me for repairs as it was “my fault”. If the damp issues were my fault, why do almost all Sanctuary properties have problem with damp and my new home that I’ve lived in for a year now doesn’t?…..funny that x”

“Still no hot water as a tiny piece of metal had pierced the hot water pipe when it went bang… Communication was rubbish the whole time me having to chase them all this while having a 3 yr old..wouldn’t even put us in a bnb!! Sanctuary housing do not care.”

“Yesterday I found out I may need my entire ground floor digging up and replacing because there may not be a membrane down or it could have corroded. Also had to call them back because despite new parts on my hot water tank, the hot water is off and still turning on all night because something isn’t doing its job properly. The boiler was serviced a few weeks ago too and had a new seal but now it’s making a whistling tune when it fires up. Very nice, but I worry about carbon monoxide because I’ve been poisoned before. I don’t need to worry about something that should be working properly.”

“I went 13 months before they decided to replace my boiler and then they only did it as my health visitor phoned them!”

“This is the worst housing association. I have been without water for 4 days which they don’t think it’s an emergency. I call burst pipes emergency not only that they have put charges on the rent an extra few quid a week coz they planted a few flowers somewhere. I say somewhere coz nobody as seen them and they charge for window cleaning and I’ve lived here for 3 years and not once have anyone come round to clean them how are they getting away with treating people like this it’s a f***ing joke.”

“Anyone know a contact for these useless people regarding a compensation claim? I’ve called 3 times and keep being told to call the repairs dept……”

Twitter3“Yeah we have damp in every room in this house especially up stairs we also have plaster dust in the house everywhere in every room all over in all the carpets and I mean absolutely everywhere, in and on everything even in the house wee have all been breathing it in for the last 10 YEARS and we all have infections from it and it’s been here for ten years.”

“So have become a sanctuary tenant after a mutual exchange.. Wish I hadn’t bothered!! What a waste of time totally incompetent company. It’s been a farce from start to finish! Really annoyed at the amount of repairs that need doing that they fail to acknowledge. Yet are quick to inform me that if I dare to install an electric shower, at my cost, they will have to inspect it to make sure it’s done properly and looks nice.. Yet the bathroom it’s going into is really old, with blown tiles hanging off and massive chips out of the bath.. But that’s ok?? F***ing idiots.”

“Sanctuary has served eviction notice on a mum with 2 young children. Heartless and shocking. Calls itself a charity. Calls itself Sanctuary. Oh and it’s jobsworths being pedantic…. We have contacted Sanctuary Housing, local MP and submitted homeless application with council. Looks like they will be sent to a B&B. Sanctuary have been awful.”

“Apparently Sanctuary believe this is not something that needs addressing as soon as possible, despite 2 young children and myself living in this with asthma…”

“Apparently sanctuary believe this is not something that needs addressing as soon a possible dispite 2 young children and my self living in this with asthma …. I don’t know what to say I’m upset and angered by there lack of help… I won’t give up I just hate it when they put pressure on you and try to make you look like an idiot … I’m not that clued up on everything to know what’s what. This place is tearing me apart I literally sit there and cry because no one seems to do anything and how this place is practically falling to bits around me and I can’t get out. I’m already in touch with the mp and it doesn’t sound like there is much he can do from what he said … I will ask about the windows …. to top it off we have storage heaters too so it is unbelievably expensive …. we have many other issues with this place too … it’s like a living hell

 “Good luck getting anything done with them… go straight to your mp … honestly we have been fighting for so long and nothing has been done it’s not worth the stress just place a complaint and maintenance request over the phone and keep all of the reference numbers logged down in a diary and take them to your mp or local housing office. It’s really not worth our time to go through sanctuary. They simply couldn’t care less about any of their tenants or their own contracts.
investor

Justice for Ernest John Coles – the crimes of Sanctuary Care?

PleaseHelpMeThis document has been received and signed for in the following offices:

Devon County Council, The Police, The Doctor involved, Sanctuary Care and CQC head office.
House of Commons and NHSLA, pending, not yet signed for…

Letter of Notification of a Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes
Date of claim: 20th October 2015.
Copied to the NHS Litigation Authority
Associated bodies
Rachel Chalmers, DC for vulnerable adults Rachel Doyle, CQC Inspector
CQC Enquiry Number – 2186209966
Claim
Failure to comply with the Health and social care Act 2008 Regulation 20 Breach of duty of care to both Mr and Mrs Coles
Claimant:
Ernest John Coles of 7 Lichfield Road, Redhills, Exwick, EX4 2EU
on behalf of his late wife Marguerite Coles who passed away in Greenslades Nursing home on the 9th of December 2013
Defendants:
Responsible for the care of his late wife and failing to provide information.
Mark Mc Carthy, Head of Sanctuary Care
Natasha Knowles, business manager for Sanctuary Care
David Berenski previous Manager of Greenslades nursing home Alison Robertson Previous manageress of Greensalades Nursing home Dr.Carl Bracey, responsible doctor for Greenslades Nursing home, Foxhayes Surgery
Phil Norrey, CEO Devon County Council
…………………………….

Ernest John Coles

Ernest John Coles

On the 25th of August 2015 a letter was sent to Mark McCarthy, head of Sanctuary Care requesting an explanation to why the care plan of the late Marguerite Coles states that it has been “rewritten.”
The letter was received in their Worcester office and the signature documented by the post office is “Gormley.”
It was also acknowledged by email to myself but not to Mr Coles. Email content :

Dear Ms Wakefield,
Thank you for your email dated 25 September.
I am emailing to confirm receipt and to assure you that Mr Coles’ letter of 25 August is being dealt with professionally and that a response will be sent within the 30 days that was requested.
Kind regards, Natasha

Natasha Knowles BA (Hons), PGCE, CPE – Law
Business Manager
Sanctuary Care Limited
Cameo House, Chamber Court, Castle Street, Worcester, WR1 3ZQ.
Tel: 01905 334243 (Internal: 34243)
Fax: 01905 21019
Email: Natasha.Knowles@sanctuary-housing.co.uk
“Keeping kindness at the heart of our care.”
Sanctuary Care is part of Sanctuary Group

Unfortunately they have failed to act professionally and failed to deliver an explanation on the deadline given. I have followed them up with a phone call and I was informed that the lady dealing with this matter is on annual leave and that no one is covering her duties.
This case is as Im sure you are aware, a matter of public interest and grave concern.
In order to restore faith in the public services provided by all of the organizations involved in this matter there needs to be a thorough investigation in to this case. If the handling of this case is a reflection of the standard of care given to the vulnerable people that you are all responsible for protecting then it sheds huge concern over the services provided.

Ernest2Mr Coles is seeking further specialist legal advice in this matter as he is the legal representative of his late wife and has a grant of probate in safekeeping. As it is a crime to falsify medical notes and care plans we expect your professional response in this investigation of serious concern and provide us with a satisfactory outcome in order to restore the trust of the public who pay for the system in place.

We look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible as you are already responsible for the mistreatment of Mr. Coles as he is in his own right a vulnerable adult. I would also like to remind you that both Mr and Mrs Coles both gave up their retirement to work voluntarily for the NHS and to be repaid by society in this way is unforgivable and will not be forgotten.

A response from this pre-action letter is required within the standard time frame of 20 days by all involved without exception.

Samantha Wakefield

Facebook page Justice for Ernest John Coles

Complaints about Sanctuary Housing on Facebook

sanctuaryhousing (1)“Stand your ground with them and don’t let them bully you.”

“Obviously if they have the money to build lots of brand new houses why the bloody hell can’t they maintain the ones they’ve got?”

“Sanctuary Housing left me without a boiler for 12 weeks in the height of winter.”“The houses all seem to have the same issues……cold, mould, crap inadequate windows yet told constantly its the tenant’s fault… it’s the only place I’ve ever lived where we’ve had this!!!!! They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this.” “Your tenant’s handbook is king…. read it and use their own words to hang them…. put in the time to look up your rights and hit them with the contract you signed and they are contracted to deliver.” “One of the guys told me their housing surveyors are useless, they have no training or experience to say whether certain jobs need doing.” “Profit made is put in to new houses so their stock grows as well as the rent income. … they let all properties fall to disrepair and hope you do your own repairs…. you’re just the cash cows to make them bigger and the government throw even more of your taxes to them … to add insult to injury.” “One of their workers told me he was leaving because even the staff get treated like crap!” “If you miss the rent by a couple of days they are on your back wanting to know why. Sanctuary sucks, they are shit at everything, they want exposing in the newspapers, and I intend to do just that if need be.”

To any Sanctuary Housing and Sanctuary Group employees who may be reading

There’s around 11,000 of you I believe – does none of this bother you? I know Sanctuary does SOME good or even great work (I’ve worked in supported housing, care and related fields myself, so have some idea of the problems) but something is badly wrong. Comments welcome.

Facebook groups and pages for discussion, information and practical help – run by tenants and others who have suffered appalling and often illegal treatment from Sanctuary – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide

Also

Sanctuary Housing tenants 

Sanctuary Housing/shambles

Sanctuary Housing Banbury residents group 

Justice for Ernest John Coles

Or alternatively…

You could become the chair of our National Resident Scrutiny Panel! Not long left to apply, closing date 30 November: http://bit.ly/1qiJeqn
  • Steve Stann But do they let anyone on who thinks Sanctuary is a totally crap Landlord?
    • Sanctuary Housing Hi Steve Stann, I’m afraid the closing date for applications was 30 November, but keep an eye out for future vacancies.

Housing association complaints – no regulation of service quality!

This updated blog post on housing association complaints is for anyone who has had serious problems with housing association complaints, Sanctuary Housing and Sanctuary Group in particular. For more on serious complaints see 2019 blog Deaths, incompetence and lies – the multimillion pound housing associations destroying lives also 2016 post A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing and the original 2009 post Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? and others here.

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide, which has over 800 members (December 2016). It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it.

The information below is also relevant for complaints about other sometimes shockingly bad, usually very large, housing associations. Hyde Housing, Affinity Sutton, Metropolitan and Orbit are some that I have heard mentioned.

SanctuaryHousingIf you are reading this, you may already be familiar with the official procedure for housing association complaints, including Sanctuary’s. This consists of firstly trying to sort things out at a local level, then going through the housing association three-stage complaints procedure, then contacting a designated person (MP or local councillor). If all else fails, contact the housing ombudsman. In reality, for a large number of reasons, this process is not working for a very large number of people. The endless bureaucracy can be a complete nightmare and housing associations will often use every trick in the book to avoid taking responsibility for their poor services and sometimes diabolical treatment of vulnerable people.

An attempt to expose Sanctuary Group’s bad practices

poundsignukTowards the end of 2013 (prompted by the news that registered charity Sanctuary had made a “surplus” of £72 million – this was apparently later revised down to £54.5 million, once the acquisition of Cosmopolitan had been taken out of the equation) – I sent out a very carefully-worded physical letter to 34 contacts: Inside Housing, Private Eye, The Guardian, Homes and Communities Agency, 38 Degrees, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Taxpayers Alliance, Shelter, the Public Accounts Committee, two Commons Select Committees, the then Housing Minister Mark Prisk and 11 other MPs. I focused on the following:-

poundsigns1. Illegal and morally questionable practices.
2. Repairs being done very badly, or not at all.
3. Many properties in very bad condition, sometimes unfit for human habitation.
4. Complaints going missing and being ignored.
5. Blatant lying and dishonest manipulation of language in order to deflect complaints.
6. Bullying, harassment and bad treatment of tenants, including the elderly and disabled.
7. Inadequate soundproofing.
8. Bad communication and a lack of consultation with communities.
9. The lowering of service standards as a result of Sanctuary takeovers.
10. Bullying and mismanagement of Sanctuary’s own staff.

Under each category I selected a few quotes from the 500+ comments on the blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law?. I tried to include (nearly) everyone who had contributed up to that point. Although yet again there was no media interest, I had two lengthy replies, one from the Homes and Communities Agency and one from Margaret Hodge of the government’s influential Public Accounts Committee.

Replies from the Homes And Communities Agency (the social housing regulator, mainly concerned with financial regulation) 

Email: mail@homesandcommunities.co.uk  Website: http://homesandcommunities.co.uk

Postal address: Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team, Homes and Communities Agency, 1st Floor, Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds LS11 9AT

HACagencyInitially, the following reply gave me some hope:- “Thank you for your letter, sent to the Homes And Communities Agency and other organisations, containing a number of allegations about Sanctuary Housing Association… (We have) now considered the information you have provided and would like to invite you or others who have experienced difficulties to provide us with further information.” Carole Harrison, Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team, Homes and Communities Agency, 28.10.13

Several Sanctuary tenants sent extensive details of very serious complaints soon after – they were completely dismissed. On behalf of many tenants and others who have been badly treated by Sanctuary, I decided to have another go myself. In early 2015 I sent a carefully presented 80+ page document with extensive evidence (text, photos and newspaper articles which taken together represented 150+ Sanctuary tenants around the country) of illegal and immoral practices to a number of “authorities” and media. This included quotes from tenant-run Sanctuary facebook groups and detailed evidence of a fraud against the Scottish Housing Regulator by Sanctuary in Scotland.

The second reply from the Homes and Communities Agency was arrogant and completely dismissive. Why did they bother asking for further information if they obviously had no interest whatsoever?

Reply from Margaret Hodge MP and the Public Accounts Committee

Email: pubaccom@parliament.uk  Website: http://www.parliament.uk/pac

Postal address: Committee of Public Accounts, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the P.A.C. in 2013

“My committee retains a strong interest in how the system of social housing provision as a whole is operating and I am grateful for the information you have provided… thank you for drawing these matters to my attention.” Margaret Hodge then went on to say that “the Homes and Communities Agency does not actively monitor social housing provider performance against, or compliance with, the consumer standards, responsibility for which rests with the Boards of social housing providers” Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee, 6.12.13

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but this is confirmation by the government that following on from the abolition of housing inspectors at the Audit Commission…

THERE IS NOW NO GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF SOCIAL HOUSING FOR THE QUALITY OF SERVICES PROVIDED TO TENANTS.

A selection of June 2016 tenant posts from the 700-strong Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group on facebook

Truth“They are useless! Our house flooded today and none of them wanted to come help!”, “We get a newsletter and it seems to be filled with happy, content tenants. Not sure where they get these people from but it’s certainly not in any Sanctuary house I’ve ever known”, “I am appalled with sanctuary housing! If anyone is offered a house through them avoid at all costs!!…this is beyond a joke and i will make sure everyone is aware of how sanctuary actually treat their tenants!”, “So, adaptations were requested in February for my disabled three year old. They were signed off by sanctuary on March 28th but…. nothing. I’ve been calling for 10 weeks and each time I’m told they will send an urgent email to the housing officer but still nothing. My little girl can’t walk, they knew she was having surgery in March and would be in a wheelchair”, “I feel like I’ve been backed up against a brick wall, the bullying tactics sanctuary use”, “Today I heard that Sanctuary have taken over Housing 21. Why are they still taking more on when they can’t get the stock they have in decent shape?”

The relentless Sanctuary corporate PR machine paints a different picture

OhReallyFrom a June 2016 press release:- “Over 85,000 residents across England and Scotland have benefited from community investment and support from Sanctuary Group during the last financial year. The leading housing and care provider invested £1.55 million in community initiatives during 2015/ 16 to make a difference in communities nationwide. Under five strategic themes – employment, education, skills and training; health and well-being; community safety and infrastructure; environment and financial inclusion – Sanctuary’s investment has helped support more than 600 community initiatives with over 300 community groups…. Another key commitment for the Group is helping to reduce social isolation, particularly amongst vulnerable residents. 830 people have benefited through Sanctuary’s funding in the last year to help address loneliness and create more opportunities for people to feel more connected to their community.”

Why I am still writing blogs about Sanctuary Housing

SanctuaryHousingEven though I wasn’t a Sanctuary tenant myself, I had my life temporarily destroyed by Sanctuary’s useless, uncaring, arrogant and disgusting mismanagement back in 2007 and 2008. Intitially, it was all about an anti-social neighbour and non-existent soundproofing but the main problem soon became the utterly diabolical management of Sanctuary Housing. A total of eight employees (including Chief Executive David Bennett) and other contractors showed themselves up with various SanctuaaryGroupcombinations of incompetence, arrogance, blatant lying, blatant bullying and plain negligence. They lied and lied to our MP and the police, both of whom quickly saw through them. In the meantime, I lost my relationship, my home and almost my sanity. Months later, after threats from Sanctuary managers, I started a blog called Are Sanctuary Housing above the law?  As can be seen there, this company does an awful lot of harm to an awful lot of people. I have worked in supported housing, care homes and homeless hostels myself, so I have a pretty good idea of the difficulties that Sanctuary often have to deal with. They do SOME great work with people and communities, SOME of their properties are as good as the glossy Sanctuary PR pics. But they are also failing large numbers of people in countless ways and regularly trying to cover it up. In my opinion they have simply got too big TimBurnessand too greedy to function properly. Eight years on and with the help of the government and support from the Church of England, they are still expanding their property empire of 95,000 homes whilst badly letting many, many tenants and others down. No-one is stopping Sanctuary, a rogue housing association if ever there was one, or organizations like them.

(Sanctuary’s Chief Executive David Bennett was made a CBE for services to social housing in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list – an absolute disgrace.)

The Sanctuary Group Board

Jonathan Lander

Jonathan Lander

John Doughty

John Doughty

Dr Gareth Tuckwell

Dr Gareth Tuckwell

Nick Baldwin, Group Chair

Nick Baldwin, Group Chair

Robert McComb

Robert McComb

Elwyn Roberts

Elwyn Roberts

On the Sanctuary Housing Group website, you will find pictures and brief biographies of Directors and Executives with lots of letters after their name. Naturally, I would not wish to show any of the Sanctuary Board members (David Bennett, Craig Moule, Ian McDermott, John Doughty, Jonathan Lander, Liz Meek, Nick Baldwin – oooh, LOTS of letters after his name, that must be why he’s the Group Chair, Robert McComb, Thelma Stober, Elwyn Roberts, Dr. Gareth Tuckwell – even more!) or other Executives and Operatons Directors (Amanda Gonsalves, Peter Martin, Nathan Warren, Sophie Atkinson, Steve Wood, Simon Clark, Gordon Laurie, Dennis Evans, Chris Munday – wait a minute, according to the website Chris hasn’t got any letters after his name! OMG!) any disrespect. I myself am Tim Burness L.A.Y.N.A.M. – Letters After Your Name Are Meaningless.

David Bennett, Chief Executive

David Bennett, Chief Executive

Craig Moule

Craig Moule

Such impressive credentials! The author of a book called “A Question of Healing” who has been involved with the hospice movement, an Accredited Mediator, a woman who has worked to improve services for people with schizophrenia and for ex-offenders. Ah… oh dear, here comes the stench of Big Money – two ex-partners of PwC the massively powerful firm of accountants, an investment banker, an ex-Chief Executive of Powergen.

An investment banker? The head of an energy company? Can you hear those Corporate Rip-Off alarm bells ringing!?

Please see previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? and its 500+ comments for how bad this company can be.

I would absolutely refute any suggestion that I might have the view that, whether they realize it or not, these individuals are a money-grabbing, hypocritical bunch of fraudsters who front a totally corrupt and morally bankrupt organization. Any such suggestion that I might think this, or anything like it, made by anyone would leave me with no alternative but to invoke my Persistent, Cereal and Herbacious Complainants Procedure against them.

Yes, Sanctuary Housing Association does some good work – but nationwide neglect and abuse of tenants, including the elderly and vulnerable is no joke. An exempt rip-off registered charity that lies, cheats and bullies people is no joke. Bad services, incompetent contractors and substandard properties left to rot for years is no joke.

£72 million surplus last year. Shame on you, Sanctuary Group Board.

(The above figure was apparently later revised down to £54.5 million – they make around £40-50 million every year. Unbelievably, Chief Executive David Bennett was awarded a CBE for services to social housing in 2015.)

Liz Meek

Liz Meek

Thelma Stober

Thelma Stober

Ian McDermott

Ian McDermott

Sanctuary’s neglect of the elderly and vulnerable

The uselessness, lies, rudeness, threats, bullying and generally corrupt behaviour of Sanctuary Housing Group (includes Sanctuary Housing Association, Sanctuary Care, Sanctuary Management Services and others) over the last few years are extensively documented in a large number of personal accounts from people across England and Scotland on my previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law? Sanctuary’s unprofessional and excessively corporate behaviour (at times, corporate fascism would seem to be a fair description) continues to affect many – tenants, relatives, students, property-owning neighbours, their own front line employees, and others. Over the last few months, there have been the following complaints in press articles from around the country:-

Maureen Cox, three months with no heating and asbestos

Maureen Cox, 76, three months with asbestos and no heating

Terry McGuire, 82, not on £310,000

Terry McGuire, 82, not on £310,000

In Oxford, a great-grandmother was found to be living without heating in a Sanctuary property with asbestos for three months (November 2013). On the edge of Birmingham, a CQC report revealed that Sanctuary Care, which owns and runs 60 care homes, had put residents ‘at risk of receiving unsafe care and treatment’ because of staff shortages (November). A Cambridge newspaper article: Family plead to be moved from their ‘hell hole’ Sanctuary Housing home (December). The Banbury Guardian had a woman’s three-year wait for house repairs and in the Hemel Hempstead area there were pensioners asking why a security light repair took four months (January 2014). Yes, I think we are getting the picture! Back in Oxford again, last month, a family’s possessions were taken to the tip after a garage mix-up and just a few days ago in Liverpool, a Wirral pensioner slept rough outside his doorstep after being evicted by Sanctuary.

David Bennett, Sanctuary Chief Executive on £310,000

David Bennett, Sanctuary Chief Executive, on £310,000

Whilst they may do great work in some areas, the above instances would appear to be the tip of the Sanctuary iceberg, as can be seen from other blogs here and elsewhere. This widespread neglect of the elderly and vulnerable is coming from a company that has charity status, that made a “surplus” (i.e. profit) of £72 million last year, a company that currently pays its Chief Executive David Bennett £310,000 per year.

They need to be stopped.

 

Sanctuary Housing repairs

SanctuaryHousing

Letter to Robert Goodwill MP from Sanctuary Housing Association tenants

Hello Mr Goodwill,

I hope you are well and I am sorry to contact you again about this shambolic company. I am writing to you to keep you updated with our situation and inform you of our intentions.

poundsignUKSanctuary have and are going back on their word regarding some of the improvements on our Estate. Sanctuary promised to spend £1,010,600 on the Estate for their 133 properties. After my partner and I had a meeting with Dennis Evans (National Director for Repairs) in November last year, we were led to believe that this was a starting point figure, and any improvements that needed doing on their housing stock would be done. However, numerous tenants have informed us that Sanctuary are changing the goal posts – no change there. Since the beginning of May, Sanctuary staff have been telling tenants that there isn’t any money left. Some tenants have had refurbishments done but Sanctuary tell tenants that there isn’t any money for things like lino floor coverings, thus failing in their obligations, and this being less than four months from the start of improvements.

The first of 6 rats caught

The first of 6 rats caught

People don’t want the earth Mr. Goodwill. They merely want their homes bringing up to a decent standard, a standard set by Government and a standard which Sanctuary are failing to meet by a country mile – not just here in Scarborough, but nationally too.

Please read the Tim Burness blog Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? as you are mentioned favorably a couple of times and also your picture is posted.

With regards to the recent improvements, by our understanding, 60 to 70% have had problems in one form or another. From one tenant having to have their bathroom replaced 3 times because it had been installed wrongly, to a lady having to have half her garden dug up because of something a workman had put down the toilet, subsequently blocking the main drain.

bathroomMany, many people have had leaks and floods. When we have approached Ian Calver (who is in charge of the improvement program) on numerous occasions, he has said “People will have to except that this is always going to happen”. A statement that I find staggering and one which was repeated at the residents meeting. I contacted the Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers to ask their opinion, they too were staggered by those comments and stated if plumbers were to have many leaks during heir work, they wouldn’t be employed for very long.

bathroom 2Sanctuary are hiding under the banner of having multi-skilled operatives. However, the true facts are that the people that they are employing have little or no experience at all. Once again, this is happening nationwide. The people employed to do the moderization here are joiners, with the exception of one. When asked by tenants how things are going, one joiner said “Okay I think? We are learning as we go along.” It dosn’t project great confidence really, does it?

The Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers also stated that the minimum qualification level should be NVQ Level 3 with a minimum of 4 years experience before plumbers should be undertaking work unsupervised, and that we as tenants have a legal right not to let any workman without the proper qualifications into our home. So the question has to be asked – why do we have to have unqualified, untrained personnel working on our homes? What checks have Sanctuary put in place to make sure their personnel are up to scratch? None at all, judging by the catalogue of errors that we have found.

bathroom cupboard eaten throughThis also includes day to day maintenance staff as well. People have had issues with water stop valves installed upside down, stopping the flow of water when a directional arrow clearly showed which way it should have been installed, a water tank that had been installed with a toilet ball cock which wasn’t adequate (unqualified people messing about with people’s water supply isn’t at all good!), bare wires being left exposed, my family being hospitalised because of a multi-skilled operative treating internal timbers with creosote – even my 14 year old son knew you shouldn’t put a substance like that inside a dwelling.

A bunch of cowboys

A bunch of cowboys

I could go on and on about these issues, but the fact is, this is cowboy work by a cowboy company. They are more interested in empire building than bringing their existing stock up to the decent homes standard.

Simon Clark, Group Director, states there is 92% satisfaction with their tenants. I think he pulled these figures out of a black top hat along with a white rabbit and a string of handkerchiefs.

He also seems to be rather skilled at making complaints and problems magically disappear, perhaps he would be better suited to joining the Magic Circle than sitting on the board of Sanctuary Housing.

Last year we arranged a meeting specifically for Sanctuary tenants to air their views, the meeting was held at our local school. Sanctuary wanted to coincide the meeting with the Residents Association monthly meeting but we pointed out that the issues that tenants wanted to raise were of the solo concern of Sanctuary Housing and not the wider Estate. A meeting specifically for Sanctuary tenants was held and we had a follow up meeting, which was made specifically for Sanctuary tenants in November. At that meeting Sanctuary promised a follow up meeting for March – it didn’t happen. When I asked Sanctuary about it they failed to return my calls regarding the matter. I persisted to no avail, I was later tipped off that representatives of Sanctuary were to attend the Residents Association meeting in May to inform residents of progress.

Three Sanctuary tenants were present, and two of those were my partner and myself. No letters were posted to inform people of their intentions to be at the meeting. Sanctuary have fudged out yet again, stopping their tenants airing their views about failure to keep their promise of improvements and their failure to do work to a satisfactory level.

Our intention now is to go and ask the 133 Sanctuary tenants on our Estate a questionairre about service and confidence in the company. We will also be taking a petition round to ask for action to be taken against this cowboy company who have nothing but contempt for their tenants.

We will keep you posted.

Investor

MPs – please stop Sanctuary Housing

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide, which has over 800 members (December 2016). It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it.

Sanctuary GroupThe uselessness, lies, rudeness, threats, bullying and generally corrupt behaviour of Sanctuary Housing Group (includes Sanctuary Housing Association, Sanctuary Care, Sanctuary Management Services and others) over the last few years are extensively documented in a large number of personal accounts from people across England and Scotland on my previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law? Sanctuary’s unprofessional and excessively corporate behaviour continues to affect many – tenants (including the vulnerable and elderly), relatives, students, property-owning neighbours, their own front line employees, and others. Common complaints are poor maintenance and a lack of repairs to badly neglected homes, “which are now becoming the new slums” as one observant Sanctuary employee put it. (“In local authorities, qualified staff are on hand all the time to give their professional advice, Clerk of Works and their teams. These were lost when the housing stock was taken over by Housing Associations, and their short term financial gain without costing out the total overall running costs of their acquired housing stock. Which are now becoming the new slums.” March 2011) Some examples in the press over the last few months:-

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Newquay-residents-plea-home-repairs-Sanctuary

http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/mp-highlights-complaints-over-social-housing

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2318800/Royal-Victoria-Hospital-Annexe-Bungling-decorators-left-red-faced-shocking-paint-job.html

In contrast to their neglect of older homes and tenants, Sanctuary is heavily involved in the increasingly controversial Affordable Homes Programme (affordable for whom?), having received £90 million from the government in 2012.

Sanctuary Group is a very big organization, now with 94,000 homes across England and Scotland, and of course some people have positive experiences of them. Also, I know from my own experience that working in areas such as supported housing and care can be difficult. But there is obviously a real and very serious problem with the culture of this organization and the attitudes of some of its staff. Many people’s serious complaints are often ignored and Sanctuary’s behaviour often appears to be completely immoral or worse.

DavidBennett2013

David Bennett, Sanctuary Group Chief Executive

Many people’s lives are being damaged by a registered charity that regularly makes over £20 million profit, that pays its Chief Executive over £280,000, and that pays no tax. It looks like Sanctuary has got too big and too greedy to function properly.

Last week, I read that the group of MPs that monitors the work of the Homes and Communities Agency has launched an inquiry into the regulation of social housing in England. The inquiry will examine the work of the regulation committee since it replaced the previous social housing regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, in April 2012. Unfortunately, as usual, this looks likely to be concerned with financial regulation only. The actual quality of services provided by a large and impersonal housing association such as Sanctuary rarely seems to be questioned or confronted.

Sanctuary Housing

As a result of complaints from constituents, many MPs are now aware of the widespread incompetence and dishonesty of Sanctuary Housing Group. Sanctuary often seem to be more concerned with building their empire through property speculation, rather than looking after tenants, their properties, and their communities. These MPs and others need to fully investigate Sanctuary (and if needs be, other large housing associations too) and declare them unfit for purpose. Current regulation is totally inadequate. This is a scandal.

The MPs pictured here, along with many others, have all either directly experienced problems with Sanctuary through the complaints of constituents, or else are well aware of the general issues with large profit-driven housing associations.

Is there an existing All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) or other Parliamentary Committee that can take this on?

MPs – Robert Goodwill and Ben Bradshaw in particular – PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

Robert Goodwill MP

Robert Goodwill MP

Tim Loughton MP

Tim Loughton MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Ben Bradshaw MP

Ben Bradshaw MP

Stephen Gilbert MP

Stephen Gilbert MP

Greg Hands MP

Greg Hands MP

John McDonnell MP

John McDonnell MP

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP

Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP

Are Sanctuary Housing above the law?

Shadow Justice Minister, Andy Slaughter MP

Also see 2019 blog Deaths, incompetence and lies – the multimillion pound housing associations destroying lives 2016 blog A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing and 2016 updated Housing association complaints – no regulation of service quality! and others here.

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide, which has over 800 members (December 2016). It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it.

Sanctuary Group (Sanctuary Housing Association) – a monster that must be stopped. An “exempt” registered charity who often lie, cheat, and bully people, including their own staff. Some services are very poor, repairs are often a bad joke, tenancy agreements are frequently broken by Sanctuary’s incompetence and bad practice. They are largely funded by the taxpayer (housing benefit, the government), tenants include some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and poor people in Britain. Sanctuary Group (fingers in many pies) makes over £40 million surplus (=profit) every year. The Chief Executive is on £310,000 (and has now been made a CBE – Tim 2015).

In 2012, Sanctuary were awarded £90 million through the government’s Affordable Homes Programme, the highest allocation in England. In the same year in Scotland, they received similar grants of £10 million. The Chief Executive has spoken of “delivery of 5000 homes at a combined capital investment of £750 million over the next four years”. Sanctuary completed its takeover of Cosmopolitan Housing Group in March 2013, creating the UK’s largest social landlord, with 95,000 homes owned and managed.

“A scandal which should be exposed.”
Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith and Shadow Justice Minister, May 2011 – on the performance and unaccountability of large housing associations, at the House of Commons.

“Tenants who pay their rent should be entitled to expect their landlord to address failings in a speedy way, but it looks like Sanctuary is falling well short of that.” Stephen Gilbert, Liberal Democrat MP for St. Austell and Newquay in Cornwall, February 2013. “Sanctuary Midlands is letting its customers down… It hasn’t focused on what results it is getting and whether these are effective… The Association needs to do much more to ensure that services perform well.” Ann Bennett, Audit Commission Lead Housing Inspector, April 2010 “One of the worst housing associations I have had to deal with… useless.” Tim Loughton on Sanctuary, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham in Sussex, late 2008.

Sanctuary being an “exempt”  registered charity means that the Charity Commission has no monitoring role whatsoever – it’s a tax break. Not only do they not pay tax, Sanctuary appear to be largely unaccountable to anyone at all. The Audit Commission no longer has housing inspectors. The Homes And Communities Agency, the new social housing regulator since 2012, deals mainly with financial regulation.

Francis Bennion

Prince Philip

Sanctuary Housing Association was originally founded as The World Of Property Housing Trust by influential barrister Francis Bennion (according to his website, Mr. Bennion was still vice-president of Sanctuary until his death in 2015) in 1968-69. Support came from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Royal Institute of British Architects, several MPs including the then Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Walker, billionaire Paul Getty, many other very rich and very influential people, and big support from Prince Philip and the Queen – including a personal financial donation. Oddly, Sanctuary seem to have kept this rather quiet – all a bit masonic perhaps? The Church of England Pensions Board recently signed a £250,000 contract with Sanctuary Group. Are these apparently strong links to the government and “the Establishment” the reason why no-one will hold Sanctuary to account?

(See 20th August 2011 comment for more info and link – Tim)

If you have a genuine case (whether you are a tenant, relative, student, front line or management employee, property-owning neighbour, or anyone else), please don’t give up. By standing up to Sanctuary Housing Group you are also helping many others in similar situations. Don’t be intimidated by their uselessness, lies, threats, and the problems of getting your voice heard.

DON’T GIVE UP!

Sanctuary head office

Sanctuary Group head office, Sanctuary House, Chamber Court, Castle Street, WORCESTER, WR1 3ZQ

Phone: 01905 334000

Rather than just the above or local-ish offices, impersonal e-mails or call centres, or their long-winded and very very dodgy “Complaints Procedure”, you might have more luck with the following direct Sanctuary Housing Group phone numbers and contacts at Worcester:-

Simon Clark, Group Director – Housing. E-mail: simon.clark@sanctuary-housing.co.uk Direct Dial: 01905 334064 Extension: 34064 Mobile: 07894 599107

Group Director for Housing and Communities, Simon Clark

Direct dial: 01905 334064 Extension: 34064 Mobile: 07894 599107 Email: simon.clark@sanctuary-housing.co.uk Unfortunately, Mr. Clark clearly demonstrated Sanctuary’s now legendary arrogance and state of total denial on BBC television (Inside Out South West, 18.2.13), in relation to Sanctuary’s diabolical treatment of a group of tenants living in homes officially assessed as legally unfit for habitation.

Senior PA to Simon Clark, Claire Griffiths

Direct dial: 01905 334167 Fax: 01905 334956

claire.griffiths@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Director of Sanctuary Home Care & Extra Care, Donna Culley

Direct dial: 01905 334091 Mobile: 07900 160602
Donna.Culley@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Assistant to Chief Executive David Bennett, Heidi Hodgkin

Worth knowing her name if you’re trying to make contact with Chief Executive David Bennett, who is based at the Worcester address.

TRY EVERYTHING AND DON’T GIVE UP!

If you have been on the receiving end of Sanctuary’s uselessness/lies/threats – don’t just moan on this blog! GO TO YOUR MP – they are paid to represent you!

Or go to your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.

Or write to your local or national newspaper – FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYONE ELSE – PLEASE DO IT!

Some tenants get results by going to the Housing Ombudsman, but many people’s experience is that they are a waste of time.

BBC WATCHDOG (many, many people have complained about Sanctuary but no interest at all so far – Tim 2015)
Watchdog, W1 NBH 07C, BBC New Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/gotastory/
E-mail:
watchdog@bbc.co.uk

BBC PANORAMA
Panorama, Zone D, 4th Floor, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, UK, W1A 1AA
E-mail: panorama.reply@bbc.co.uk

Here’s a different point of view, expressed anonymously and not altogether convincingly – note the dismissive tone towards vulnerable and disadvantaged people but perhaps he/she is just doing his/her best in a difficult job?

“I’ve worked in complaints on and off for 30 years and let me make something clear to you, 7/10 people make stuff up or get it totally wrong hence their complaints are never upheld.

How about releasing the results of 20k of sanctuary residents from last year on how they view the service? The results were that the majority were satisfied with Sanctuary in many areas polled. 92 on this blog versus 20,000 – YOU DECIDE. If you are going to blog, at least be open minded and impartial.”

A “majority” in “many areas”, this is a bit vague isn’t it? And Sanctuary has over 70,000 tenants (95,000 since the takeover of Cosmopolitan in 2013, Tim), what about the other 50,000? Yes, people only have to read through a few posts here to make up their own minds about Sanctuary, no doubt about that. Obviously the posts on this blog are not the whole story – that’s probably even worse!

In 2009-10, according to page 18 of their annual report, not-for-profit charity Sanctuary Group made a “surplus” (i.e. profit) of £23.8 million. During 2010-11, profits went up to £24.7 million. Since the takeover of Cosmopolitan, profits have soared to £72 million for the year 2012-13.

Legally, no tax is paid on this.

Much of the multi-million pound profit comes from the government and the taxpayer in the form of housing benefit from some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and poor people in Britain.

In 2009, with the help of Barclays Capital hedge fund, Sanctuary issued £200 million pounds of bonds. These were secured against the group’s rented housing. In April 2012, a further £300 million pounds of bonds were issued. Not-for-profit casino banking anyone?

Original post:-

There may be one or two people out there who wondered what happened to the devastating noise disturbance situation my ex-partner and I were going through in 2007 and 2008.

Eventually the housing association concerned moved their tenant out (The second crazy teenage anti-social behaviour nightmare in two years – we were attacked and threatened on our doorstep, with loud screaming and swearing at all hours, amongst other things. There was a hint that the tenant had previously had an ASBO, we never found out for sure…), they properly sound-proofed the flat below ours, and their unfortunate local manager moved on. My ex is now being treated with the respect that any innocent member of the public deserves. She does actually own her flat after all!

It took five visits to our local MP Tim Loughton, a few ridiculous meetings with Sanctuary Housing, and well over twenty letters to Sanctuary and various other organizations (eventually including the now defunct Housing Corporation, West Sussex Supporting People, and the head of local police) before they took us and several of our neighbours seriously. The police and the local council were reluctant to get involved, although they were helpful at times, especially the supportive but ultimately powerless PCSOs. “It’s not a police matter”, we were repeatedly told. The Environmental Health recorder didn’t get results. No-one seemed to be seriously bothered about the stinking “skunk” cannabis, we wouldn’t have minded ourselves if they’d kept their windows closed.

For over a year, Sanctuary Housing’s behaviour was astonishing:- blatant bullying tactics, lies, dishonest back-covering and incompetence by several managers (fortunately we had evidence of this – you really should be ashamed of yourselves local manager Peter Jackson, Sanctuary Supported Housing head Tim Susans and regional manager Wendy Fletcher, what were you doing? Astrid Kjellberg-Obst and Steve Wood of Sanctuary Care Limited, is all this okay with you?), local and national offices ignoring many of our letters including a very reasonable one sent through their complaints procedure, contradictions and lack of clarity about what the law actually was on more than one occasion, written false representations of what we had written to make it mean the opposite i.e. outrageously manipulative lies, the back-tracking on their original offer of sound-proofing, the accusation that we had not been co-operating with West Sussex Mediation Services – when in fact they themselves were preventing this from proceeding by not returning the mediation people’s phone calls.

Presumably they thought they could bully us into shutting up? It was obvious there was a real long-term problem but they preferred to try and make us look unreasonable for daring to complain. In the meantime my partner had serious depression, migraine headaches and I virtually had a nervous breakdown both before and after moving out. Both of us had problems at work due to exhaustion and ultimately our relationship itself did not survive the nightmare. The neighbours across the road, a lovely friendly retired elderly couple, were extremely upset by their complaints not being taken seriously.

“Sanctuary Housing? Oh no!”, said a nurse friend of mine when I told her about all this. “They kept ignoring several serious complaints and sending us threatening letters when I was in their student accommodation in Brighton. Being a student nurse was hard enough already, the university had to get involved on our behalf, it was a nightmare”. So much for Sanctuary Management Services, their student branch. We and our MP couldn’t help wondering how many other people up and down the country have been on the receiving end of Sanctuary Housing Group’s grotesque and morally bankrupt unprofessionalism. And just plain indifference.

On their website, Sanctuary Housing describe themselves as “An industry leading social enterprise helping to set standards across the entire sector” (They’ve since dropped this headline but the attitude is still there, TB). In his patronizing, clueless and ill-informed letter of denial TO OUR MP, boss Chief Executive David Bennett couldn’t even be bothered to get our address right, apparently confusing us with a Sanctuary property in Berkshire.

David Bennett, Sanctuary Chief Executive, now a CBE

According to an article from The Guardian in September 2003, the Chief Executive of this “not-for-profit” organization was at that time receiving over £200,000 per year from tax-payers money.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2003/sep/24/

(According to another national newspaper 25.9.09, as head of this exempt charity, Chief Executive David Bennett is unbelievably now on £288,000. A social housing fat cat, the equivalent of a greedy banker. He is third on the list in this article:-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1215947/

£288,000 for someone who, in his letter to our MP, showed himself and Sanctuary up as totally incompetent and arrogant!? September 2010 update – he’s now on £285,446. September 2013, £310,000. He was made a CBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list – an absolute disgrace.)

Former Group Chair, Nick Baldwin

The money is obviously rolling in as they expand their “not-for-profit” empire, around 80,000 (95,000 since March 2013) homes making them the biggest Registered Social Landlord (RSL) in the country. Thanks for sorting out our situation in the end Sanctuary, but our life together was destroyed in the meantime.

Yes, all the above is actually true! No full apology or explanation was ever offered. Useless. Uncaring. Arrogant. Disgusting.

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