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Check on your neighbours

Check on your neighbours

I refer to Kerry Woodham's article in the Herald on Sunday, 3 Sept 2011 entitled "Check on the grouchy elderly" - following the death of an 88 year old gentleman whose body laid undiscovered in a Wellington City Council flat for up to a year. Grey Power agree with Kerre's sentiment that neighbours should look out for each other. Neighbourly help such as keeping an eye out and checking when there seems to be no activity, need not be intrusive. Failure to make contact should result in a report to the Landlord and/or police. We understand that there were rumours circulating amongst the flats' residents that Mr Clarke was dead, and Grey Power would be interested in ascertaining whether the residents raised these concerns with the Council office or any council workers that tend the site.

Wellington City Councillor Stephanie Cook said that Mr Clarke had lived in their flats for 30 years and that he had advised Council that he had no family or friends. Council evidently changed his fire alarm battery 10 months ago and we understand that to be the last contact they had with him. Councillor Cook was reported as saying that they had been trying to get hold of Mr Clarke for several weeks prior to the discovery of his body.

We agree that Wellington City Council are not running an institution but, in light of the requirements of a Deed of Grant they signed with the Crown in 2007, the Council agreed to review its policies around social housing and the Council's subsequent Social Housing Service Policy made public in May last year states that Council aims "to provide support for Council tenants" with two principles being to "work in partnership to improve the lives of tenants" and to "provide a high quality service to tenants". Tenancy Management clauses therein deal with "Tenant Support" which refers to "meeting the needs of individual tenants, both in terms of housing need and other support needs" and states that working in partnership with other agencies "is critical in assisting those who need help". Further, that Council "will foster and promote partnerships". The Policy pledges that "The Council will make sure people who require assistance and support are connected with the relevant agencies and government departments".

With Council policy expressing such responsibility for the wellbeing of tenants, Grey Power believes that failure to undertake or adhere to these policies makes Council culpable in some regard and it's appalling if Council only gives lip-service to its own policy.


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