I got an email from a government department this week, offering some contacts for government departments that might be able to help me out. It was completely useless. I wrote a response, but didn’t send it, as I didn’t think it would be of much use. So I’ll stick it up here; maybe the unnamed government department will see it this way?

Hi,

I appreciated you sending this information, but I am afraid that it has little relevance to people in my situation. I read through it and all I saw were the same collection of websites and phone numbers that I have seen a number of times before. The people at these various departments and organisations do not have any useful information that they can give us. I am not sure whether the people in the welfare section realise what our situation is – and until they do, information that might be of marginal use to people in the rest of the city won’t cut it for us. I’ve spent six weeks trying to tell people in Civil Defence what the issues are, and they are finally starting to listen. I really hope that it doesn’t take the same amount of time for the welfare section to listen.
We cannot get into our houses. This means we can’t get our personal items, clothes, furniture, appliances etc. We can’t tell whether they are damaged or not. We can’t make an insurance claim, or an EQC claim, because we don’t know whether we will be able to get our possessions out at some point in the future, whenever that may be. We can’t go and set up new houses and flats, as we don’t have all the things you need to furnish a flat, to stock a kitchen. But we can’t go and buy those things new, because if we ever get insurance money for our contents of our current places, then we will have to repay all the items we have bought. We are in limbo, a dire situation that generic “fact sheets” like this simply do not cover.
I understand that you are just doing your job, circulating the information that has been given to you. I don’t mean to direct any anger to you personally, but this situation is an absolute disgrace. The residents of the red zone have been by and large unable to get back to their houses, their possessions, their clothes, beds, paintings and medicines for over 9 weeks now, and the only welfare response is a cut and paste list of phone numbers that anyone could find on the internet in two minutes? I have been put on hold, shifted from branch to branch to manager of most of the organisations that are listed in the fact sheet, because they simply don’t know how to respond to our situation. This feels like yet another fob off from a government department that doesn’t know how to deal with us. Until someone takes a minute to consider what it would be like to walk in our shoes, we will continue to be treated in this patronising way. I strongly recommend that you start asking us what our problems are, rather than wasting your time and ours with these useless fact sheets.
I would usually refrain from writing in such harsh tones, but if you genuinely believe you are “sure that this covers most if not all of your residents concerns” then you don’t know the scope or scale of the issues we face.
Regards,
James
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