Homeless man with PTSD pleads for council to offer him temporary accommodation

“I’m scared. I am being sick every day. I’m not eating properly because I can’t, because I am constantly looking over my shoulder every way I turn.”

Those are the words of Andrew Jarman, who has been homeless and sleeping rough on the streets of Lynn for months.

He has been left shocked by what he feels is West Norfolk Council’s unwillingness to provide any accommodation for him, having done so previously. Homelessness falls under the borough council’s jurisdiction.

Andrew Jarman has been sleeping rough in Lynn for months
Andrew Jarman has been sleeping rough in Lynn for months

Mr Jarman, 26, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has recently been discharged from hospital. However, at the start of September, he was told he no longer qualifies for temporary accommodation through the council.

The authority has said it does everything it can to help people who are homeless, but that if someone no longer has a “priority need for housing in accordance with legislation”, any accommodation ceases.

“All they do is turn round and tell me they are not helping me,” Mr Jarman said.

“They said it was because my needs don’t suit them. My problems do not fall into their categories.

“The thing that has really peeved me off is that my mental health is going downhill.”

Mr Jarman told the Lynn News that he developed PTSD following a life-threatening situation. The impact the condition has on him meant that during Lynn’s Fawkes in the Walks fireworks event earlier this month, he reacted by punching and headbutting various objects while sleeping on the street.

Loud bangs and noises from passing vehicles can also “set me off”, he said.

He has pleaded for the borough council to reassess him to see if he does qualify for any more temporary housing. He was previously put up in the town’s Travelodge.

A borough council spokesperson said: “When someone contacts us and tells us they are homeless or at risk of homelessness, we do everything we can to help them.

“Our assessments of need are based on Government legislation using the information people provide when they ask us for help. Following our assessment, if applicants have further information that they wish to provide in regard to their situation, they should contact us.

“We can only make assessments based on the information we have received.

“Temporary accommodation may be provided for a time while investigations into the individual’s circumstances are ongoing. During this period, referrals may be made to other services to assist the client to find suitable accommodation in the private sector. Financial assistance is also available to enable this.

“Once our assessment is complete we let the client know. Where the outcome is that the client does not have a priority need for housing in accordance with legislation, any temporary accommodation that had been provided during the assessment period would cease.

“We are still available to provide advice and, once they find their own affordable and suitable accommodation, we may be able to provide some financial assistance.

“Once a decision has been made, this stands unless there is a material change in an individual’s circumstances. The important thing is that this is an ongoing conversation.

“It is vital that all and any appropriate information and supporting evidence is provided to us so that a full and accurate assessment can be made, and any available help or support given.”