About 100 activists and their allies have taken pa

first_imgAbout 100 activists and their allies have taken part in a protest and vigil to mark the death of a disabled man who died minutes after leaving a jobcentre… six months after a government contractor found him “fit for work”.Lawrence Bond is said to have collapsed on the pavement shortly after leaving Kentish Town jobcentre, following a back-to-work appointment.He was reportedly awaiting the result of an appeal against being found fit for work and therefore ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA), the out-of-work disability benefit.Disability News Service (DNS) has confirmed with the London Inner North coroner’s office that there will be an inquest into his death later this year.The inquest could be heard by the same coroner, Mary Hassell, who found in January 2014 that a disabled man, Mr A*, had taken his own life as a direct result of being found fit for work and ineligible for ESA, following a work capability assessment (WCA).That verdict, and the “prevention of future deaths report” that Hassell sent to the Department for Work and Pensions – warning that other disabled people with mental health conditions could die if DWP failed to take urgent action to make the test safe – have proved hugely significant in the continuing campaign to scrap the WCA and hold ministers accountable for their failings, and for the deaths of other benefit claimants.Although the circumstances of the two deaths are different, DNS understands that Lawrence Bond was found fit for work in July 2016 following a face-to-face assessment at the same examination centre that found Mr A fit for work in 2013.He was assessed by Maximus, the discredited US outsourcing giant that took over the WCA contract from Atos in 2015. Mr A was assessed by Atos.This week’s protest and vigil (pictured) was organised by two local activist groups, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and the disabled women’s organisation WinVisible.Among those who spoke were Lawrence Bond’s sister, Iris; Gill Thompson, whose disabled brother David Clapson died after having his benefits sanctioned; Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell; and Mr A’s daughter.Claire Glasman, from WinVisible, said friends of Lawrence Bond had travelled from as far as Brighton and Somerset to attend the protest.She said: “We wanted to pay our respects to Lawrence Bond first of all, so his death didn’t get passed over. Every life matters.”But she added: “We have just had it with people dying like this.”She said WinVisible had supported many disabled women who have either been unfairly found fit for work, or have lost their benefits because of a failure to attend a WCA.One woman, with the chronic lung condition COPD, lost her ESA for several months after Maximus rejected her excuse for being 10 minutes late for an appointment: that she couldn’t run to catch a bus because of her COPD.Glasman told DNS: “It all took months. Meanwhile, she lost weight, her only income was disability living allowance, and she was having to go round to someone else’s house for food.”Film director Ken Loach also spoke at the protest, and was among those to have drawn a comparison between Lawrence Bond’s death and the main character of his film I, Daniel Blake, which was released last year.The film features a man with a long-term health condition who is found fit for work through the WCA process, and eventually collapses and dies while trying to appeal that decision.Asked whether DWP was concerned about Lawrence Bond’s case, and whether it had launched an internal investigation, a DWP spokeswoman said: “The local jobcentre had been supporting Mr Bond and our sympathies are with his family at this difficult time.“ESA decisions are made following a thorough assessment and after considering all of the evidence, including that provided by a claimant’s doctor or other medical professionals.“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can ask for it to be reconsidered, and if they still disagree they can appeal.“The details of Mr Bond’s death have not yet been confirmed and there has been no inquest.”Maximus had not responded to requests to comment by noon today (Thursday).*Mr A’s family have requested that DNS does not publish his namePicture by Fanny Weed, Crossroads Audio Visual Collectivelast_img read more

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SF Mission Votes on 50 Million in Affordable Housing Funds

first_img 0% More than 125 people crowded into a second-floor auditorium at 474 Valencia St. Wednesday night to vote on the use of the $50 million allocated to the Mission District in November’s election.  After two hours of presentation and deliberation, those in attendance opted to prioritize a “buy now, build now” strategy that would see those funds go towards acquiring two or three medium-sized plots and building some 200 units of fully affordable housing there in the next five to seven years.“The number one priority is buy now, build now,” said Erick Arguello to loud applause, reading the tallies from the vote at the end of the night. Specific plots of land have not yet been decided but will likely be chosen in the next few weeks. Regardless of the specifics, some remarked on how none of the options would make a significant dent in the neighborhood’s affordability crisis. “It’s kind of shocking that $50 million doesn’t buy you much,” said Christina Olague, a former city supervisor.The meeting was put together by a coalition of Mission organizations: Poder SF, Plaza 16, Causa Justa, Mission Housing, the Mission Economic Development Agency, and many others. The city gave the group discretion over how to seek community input for the Mission’s Proposition A funds, and groups used their networks to reach out to as many people as possible for Wednesday’s vote, passing out flyers, contacting affordable housing residents, and creating an event on social media. The vote is advisory and the final decision of how to allocate funds will be made by the Mayor’s Office of Housing.Dozens of members of these organizations were in charge of logistics, setting up posters, connecting projectors, and distributing burritos, tortilla chips, and pizza. They were also joined by Supervisor David Campos and two of his potential replacements, Hillary Ronen and Edwin Lindo.“This is beautiful,” Campos said, adding that the meeting was entirely the work of the community organizations present and that his office was uninvolved. Participants were initially separated into six groups — two of which were led in Spanish — ranging in size from 10 to more than 30. Facilitators explained the four different options before them: Buy larger properties now but build later, buy medium-sized properties now and build now, buy small sites and preserve existing tenants, or buy and renovate single-room occupancy hotels.Most opted for the second choice because they saw it as a means to start building immediately.“I voted for the second option because I am someone who doesn’t have somewhere to live,” said Erika Rodriguez. “The fastest is to get the land and build now.”“I thought it would do the most benefit for the least amount of money,” said Veruschka Martin. Because participants were each given three votes, she also chose SRO rehab as an option, but believed building new affordable housing would make a longer-term impact. “You get more bang for your buck.”Posters with clear costs and timelines associated with each option were tapped to the walls near each group, and “policy experts” like Sam Moss from Mission Housing were on hand to clear up detail when questions arose.“If the city buys an SRO, does the city own it and a non-profit will manage it?” asked one man during the discussion.“That’s a good question,” said Chirag Bhakta of the Mission SRO Collective, before waving down Moss to answer it.The vote was not unanimous, however. The “buy now, build now” option just edged out “buy now, build later” — which would have acquired larger properties with more total units, but no finished buildings for some 10 years — at 123 votes to 111. Those in favor of acquiring and rehabbing SROs came in third with 69 votes, while the small sites option came last with 63.“My number one was for the SROs, so we can get them out of the hands of the slumlords,” said Jubert Berrios. He opted for the strategy of buying and building medium-sized properties, but wanted to prioritize getting SROs away from private landlords. “They abuse everyone they can.”Others knew the dangers of eviction first-hand and wanted to keep existing tenants in place. Sheila Hernandez said she was evicted and knew how difficult it was to return to the neighborhood.“I think we need to hang on to all the units that we can, because once you’re kicked out it’s almost impossible to come back,” she said.And still others seemed uncommitted to a particular stance, saying instead that they attended the meeting to push for more affordable housing in general.“I’ve been trying for housing myself,” said Ronald Harris, a homeless man who spends his nights in a shelter. Harris has been living on the streets for seven years and said the search for housing was frustrating and slow. “I want some kind of hope that housing can come down to the regular people, the homeless people, so that the homeless people have a place to live.”Proposition A was the $310 million housing bond passed in November that allocated $50 million specifically to the Mission District. The law required community involvement in deciding how those funds would be divided, and does not require that all $50 million be spent on one strategy.The housing office will discuss the priorities decided on Wednesday in the next few days. Another meeting geared towards fine-tuning the use of the housing bond funds is scheduled for Monday, January 25, at 474 Valencia St. at 5:30 p.m. center_img Tags: Affordable Housing • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

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Mixed reviews met NCDOT officials on plans for widening South Front Street

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  It’s a road with trains, trucks, and traces right into downtown Wilmington. The state department of transportation wants to widen in and showed neighbors tonight their plans for South Front Street.The road sees local and international traffic with the terminals and now the new luxury South Front development. DOT wants to prepare the road for that growth, but neighbors want to make sure local businesses don’t lose in the name of progress.- Advertisement – “It’s crazy, somedays it takes more than forty minutes to get over the bridge,” said Trish Alletzhauser who lives in Sunset Park.A crazy commute that drivers in the cape fear have dealt with for decades.“We’re just trying to keep traffic moving in the city, trying to make it safer, trying to incorporate multi-model transportation, including biking,” said NCDOT project team lead David Leonard.Related Article: AG files more lawsuits against companies for price gouging in WilmingtonNCDOT officials want to widen Front Street from the bridge to Burnett Boulevard. Neighbors and business owners had their chance to see and weigh in on the main two options. Both designs juggling with the issue of not only congestion, but the different forms of traffic on the road.“Traffic is going to be growing you know you’ve got that we really want to work towards improving with the rail,” Leonard said.One design would simply widen the road fifteen feet a lane, add median and turn lanes along with U turn stops. But it would have to move the train tracks taking more private land. the other option is more industrious.“So you’re going to have a lot more truck traffic in here than you do now,” said one neighbor at the meeting talking to a NCDOT official.Plan two would create an overpass from the bridge to Greenfield Street on Front as well as over Burnett Boulevard. Connection to the terminal – Lake Shore Road – and 3rd Street not be as easy.“I’d really like to see the businesses that are in the area to be protected as best as they can,” said Alletzhauser.And it’s opinions like that DOT will take into account. They now plan to canvass along S. Front Street and talk to local businesses about their proposed project. It is not set to break ground until 2023. It is estimated to cost more then $11 million.last_img read more

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Businesses try to dry out work to reopen

first_img Owner Patrick Puffpaff says he has been in that location for nine years and has never seen flooding like this before but he expected it to be worse.“I thought it was going to be a lot worse, but luckily it slowed down and became a category 1,” Puffpaff said. “As far as Carolina Beach I think the eye hung out here so it wasn’t as windy, but it was a lot more rain and flooding.”He thinks Pop’s Diner had about a foot of water. Puffpaff hopes he can have most of the work done on the diner by Friday. Businesses boarded up because of Hurricane Florence. (Photo: WWAY) CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Many business owners on Carolina Beach are starting to pick up the pieces after much of the area saw substantial flooding during Florence.While some business are still are boarded up, over at Pop’s Diner the clean up has already started.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Leland wrapping up Florence debris removal

first_img After the completion of the debris pick-up contract, if residents have storm-related debris that may have been missed they should call the Town of Leland at (910) 371-0148 to provide their address. Town staff will then coordinate with the debris contractor, who will investigate these last remaining addresses.There will be no storm debris pickups after November 30.If items remain after this date, homeowners will need to make their own arrangements to have debris removed, the town says.Related Article: Person dies at Wilmington shelter early MondayThe town also says debris for businesses is not part of the debris removal contract. Businesses should be making their own arrangements to have storm debris removed. Flooding from Hurricane Florence flooded out several homes in Stoney Creek Plantation in Leland. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY) LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The Town of Leland says its cleanup from Hurricane Florence is almost over.The town says its storm debris contractor is completing its final pass for residential debris.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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NC ferries on reduced schedule Christmas Eve Christmas

first_img Southport-Fort FisherDec. 24 – 25:From Southport: 7, 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m.From Fort Fisher: 7:45, 9:15 and 10:45 a.m., 12:15, 1:45, 3:15 and 4:45 p.m.Cherry Branch-Minnesott BeachRelated Article: Recent weather, 2008 recession drive supply, price of Christmas treesDec. 24 – 25:From Cherry Branch: 5, 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 9 and 11 a.m., 12, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 10 p.m., midnight.From Minnesott Beach: 5:25, 6:15, 7:15, 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 p.m., 12:30 a.m.Ocracoke-Cedar IslandDec. 25:From Ocracoke: 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.From Cedar Island: 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.Ocracoke-Swan QuarterDec. 25:From Ocracoke: 1:30 p.m.From Swan Quarter: 4:30 p.m.Hatteras-OcracokeDec. 24:From Hatteras: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 a.m., 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 p.m., midnight.From Ocracoke: 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.Dec. 25:From Hatteras: 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11 a.m., 12, 2, 3, 6 and 9 p.m., midnight.From Ocracoke: 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30, 3:30, 4:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.The Currituck-Knotts Island and Bayview-Aurora ferry routes will run their regular schedules both days. Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry (Photo: @NCDOT_Ferry) MANNS HARBOR, NC (NCDOT) — In order to save operating costs on traditionally low traffic days, several routes in the North Carolina Ferry System will be operating on alternate schedules Dec. 24-25.The schedules are as follows:- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Power restored after morning storm causes outages in Wilmington

first_img The areas impacted were tower and traffic lights at 421 at the Isabel Holmes Bridge, 5th & Dawson, 3rd & Greenfield, 5th Avenue & Marstellar Street.The outages came as heavy rain and strong wind moved through the area with a line of storms this morning. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Commuters not only dealt with wet roads and closed streets Thursday morning in Wilmington. They also had to work around power outages across the city.According to the Wilmington Police Department Twitter, power was out for a portion of the city this morning. Service to most areas was restored by early afternoon.- Advertisement – last_img

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What new plans propose for Independence Mall

first_img On April 24, new plans were submitted to the city of Wilmington.According to the plans, the Sears wing will be removed. The plans propose to build a grocery store where the Sears building sits now.The proposal includes 6 restaurant units just inside the Oleander Drive entrance.Related Article: ‘Swamp Thing’ could spend $85 million in Wilmington areaWWAY has reached out to Brookfield Properties on when demolition might begin — we have not yet heard back. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New documents have been submitted for Wilmington’s Independence Mall in it’s planned renovation project.The redevelopment project began last year.- Advertisement – last_img

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Report North Carolina ranks among worst states for jobs

first_imgPerson filling out job application (Photo: Max Pixel) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina is one of the worst states in the country for jobs, according to the WalletHub.With employers expecting to hire 16.6 percent more graduates from the Class of 2019 than in the previous year, the personal-finance website recently released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst States for Jobs.- Advertisement – In the report, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 33 key indicators of job-market strength, opportunity and economic vitality. The data set ranges from employment growth to median annual income to average commute time.North Carolina ranked #42 on the list.WalletHub says Massachusetts is the best state to find a job while West Virginia is the worst.last_img

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NCDOT Kerr Ave construction expected to be done by early fall

first_img A spokeswoman says contractors are working on installing signals, drainage, medians, and sidewalks before adding some finishing touches, including paving.She says when the work is completed, Kerr Avenue will be four lanes wide at the point of intersection with Market Street.She says they hope all work is finished by early Fall. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– The road work that has been going on in Wilmington for almost four years now has a construction update.According to the State Transportation Department, the work along Kerr and Market Street seems to have an end in sight.- Advertisement – last_img

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