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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Look Ahead evictions - a false rumour

May 18 2009
Staff dismiss claims that 11 people had been forced to leave their accommodation in the run up to Christmas Look Ahead's hostel in Bayswater has dismissed claims that it evicted residents shortly before Christmas, claiming it has one of the best records in London. The Pavement was told that 11 people had been forced to leave their accommodation in the run up to the festive period, but this was denied by members of staff at the hostel. It was suggested that these expulsions came as a result of the increase in beds available at Crisis Open Christmas. But Mark Lewis, head of operations concerning homelessness for Look Ahead, denied this was the case, stating that the Bayswater hostel had the lowest percentages of evictions every year. Customers were evicted only if they would not pay the rent or if they constantly broke house rules, he said. Mr Lewis said he was surprised to hear the allegations of an eviction taking place during the season. "We very rarely would evict over Christmas, and certainly not for anything like rent," he said. "It would have to have been a very serious incident - and by that I mean something like an attempted murder - in which case, the person would be then arrested." argued Mr Lewis. The hostel had only evicted two people since March 2006, and that was for behavioural issues, he added. "The two evictions took place last summer, and if my memory serves me right, the police were called as there were drugs and a gun involved." said Mr Lewis. There had been no evictions since then, and none for non-payment of rent, he said. "The Bayswater hostel has the lowest percentages of evictions per year. You can count them in two hands to be honest, which is why we are seen as one of the best hostels in London," added Mr Lewis. According to Mr Lewis, before anyone can be evicted there is a long warning process. The first warning is verbal, then two more warnings follow and then the eviction note is given. Residents still then have a period of time to appeal, and those appeals would be referred to people outside of the hostel. "They also have the chance to appeal to myself, as the operation manager" said Mr Lewis. The whole process can take two or three months, he said. The Look Ahead organization was awarded with the 2006 Andy Ludlow Homeless Award for its customer involvement program and has a special complaints policy.