On the 28th February 2018 Cllr Spilllman asked the following question at Full Council: ‘Can the portfolio holder assure me that areas outside the borough, known to be rife with prostitution, drug use and associated crime, will no longer be considered suitable locations for the temporary housing of homeless Thurrock residents?’ The then Tory Mayor called a halt to the questions session before the question could be fully answered.
Thurrock Independents have since come across further such cases. We have also seen the Homeless Department housing extremely vulnerable families, against the advice of specialist professionals, in known Antisocial behaviour and crime hot spots within the borough.
Thurrock Independent Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said: “I am absolutely appalled that Thurrock Council can possibly regard placing an extremely vulnerable family, or children who may have been previously subject to intervention from Children’s Services, in such areas. In doing so we are exposing some of the most vulnerable individuals in this borough to harassment, violence, gang crime, drug abuse and possible sexual exploitation. I call upon Thurrock Council to complete an urgent review into this awful practice.
“The department must come clean on the amount of homeless applicants who are currently being housed outside of the borough. We must have absolute clarity on the safeguards that are put in place, and the checks that are carried out on temporary accommodation to make sure that it is suitable.
“I have seen cases where teenage children are being sent to live in areas known to be rife with prostitution. The risk of exploitation in such areas couldn’t be clearer. This practice is appalling, and if it hasn’t happened already, it is only a matter of time before it results in the sexual exploitation of vulnerable children.”