Star date: 10th November 2017


'His life has become endangered...we are deeply concerned...' Alec McFadden, Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre

Graciano Mantato was evicted by Salix Homes just under two months ago. Since then, he's slept in a van, a bus station, a police station, a hospital reception...and on the streets. He has collapsed six times with the stress and anxiety.

Now, local health professionals are deeply concerned about Graciano's wellbeing and, today, Alec McFadden, from Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, slammed Salix Homes... "We need action now from the landlord to ensure that Graciano is re-housed and continues to live...The time for silence has long past..."

Full details here...

"I've got nowhere to stay, nowhere to go but my house is there empty..."

Earlier this week, the Salford Star reported the case of a Salford man who was evicted by Salix Homes and has ended up on the streets. We highlighted the apparent conflict of interest that saw Salix evicting people and then having the responsibility on behalf of Salford City Councilwith a £1.3million per year contract - to re-home people the company itself has evicted (see previous Salford Star article - click here).

For that article we anonymised the man concerned but, today, agencies are so concerned for his welfare, that here we tell his full story...

Graciano Mantato arrived in this country as a 16 year old orphan asylum seeker from the hellhole of Angola... "No-one knows my past, I've gone through a lot" he tells the Salford Star "I don't want my children to go through all this...I wanted to build a future for them but every dream I had Salix has destroyed..."

Graciano was studying at Salford University but gave it up to support his partner and children. He split up with his partner but his children stayed at his Salix home in Ordsall up to four times a week. In and out of work, on low wages, he fell into arrears with Salix which eventually built up to over £2,000, and the company sought a possession order on his property.

On the day of the court hearing, he paid Salix £300 in the morning, then later went to a cash machine and found he had enough money to clear the whole debt. He says that Salix told him to go to the court to pay it as their system was down; but when he got to the court was told to pay Salix direct, which he did. While all this was going on, Graciano got a call from his neighbour saying the bailiffs were breaking into his home to evict him...

"Salix knew I wasn't in a good frame of mind" he says "They said that, although you've cleared the arrears, we cannot let you into your property..."

Graciano had no arrears when the eviction took place; indeed he was £300 in credit (the Salford Star has seen the payment statements).

"Unfortunately, he paid the arrears after they had implemented the possession order but that's partly down to Salix giving him wrong or incomplete information; they should have told him to get independent advice which they didn't" explains Carol Laidlaw, a housing and welfare rights advisor who has been representing people with rent arrears for over ten years and currently volunteers at the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre (SUCRC).

"He didn't understand that he had to apply to court himself to get the warrant suspended; he thought he had to just turn up and pay it" she adds "They gave him wrong information...If he'd come for advice we probably could have got a suspended order...but he didn't."

People having rent arrears, she explains, is not unusual; "The biggest problem currently is people not having enough money to live on and struggling with the rent; or if they pay the rent struggling with other bills…"

Having been, in his opinion, wrongly evicted, Graciano slept in his delivery van, firstly outside a police station for safety, and then outside the Salix Homes offices. After his case was highlighted in the media, he was actually evicted from his van by the rental company, even though there were no arrears on the van and Graciano needed it for work...

This quietly spoken, church-going man, who didn't drink, smoke or take drugs, had lost his home, visits from his children and his job. And was now on the streets.

Graciano went to Salford Council's Salford Housing Options Point at Wesley Street in Swinton looking for help...

"I was hoping they could challenge Salix because I was wrongly evicted...but it's staffed by Salix people; it's the same company" he explains "How can I report Salix Homes to Salix Homes? It's like reporting a twin brother to a twin brother when they have everything in common..."

Carol from SURC agrees there is a conflict of interest going on (highlighted in the original Salford Star article)...

"People present as homeless who owe them rent and they can refuse to give them a tenancy in one of their properties" she explains "They can effectively block the Council from applying homeless policy because they owe them money. And they control most of the public housing in the borough."

Since he was evicted from his van, in between a few nights in a Sale hostel, Graciano has slept in a bus station, a police station, a hospital reception...and on the streets. He has collapsed six times with the stress and anxiety.

"I collapse and am taken to A&E, and they say nothing is wrong with me" he says "My heart and blood pressure are fine. Obviously nothing is wrong but I'm collapsing. If I collapse crossing the street I can get run over and I'm dead – I was never in that condition before."

The Salford Star has seen a doctor's report stating that the collapses are "likely due to hyper-anxiety states following his eviction". The report ends with the doctor saying he is "deeply moved" by Graciano's case. He's not the only one...

This morning, Alec McFadden, Centre Manager at the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, which has been feeding and clothing Graciona and trying to find him a place to stay, absolutely slammed Salix Homes for its attitude, saying "the time for silence has long past"...

"No man is an island, and in the case of Graciano Mantato, he has become surrounded by people, doctors, mental health professionals, welfare and housing  officers, experts and our Member of Parliament all deeply concerned" McFadden explains

"This is a poor vulnerable homeless man who was evicted by his landlord, Salix, his quality of life and his actual life has become endangered because he is homeless" he adds "The SUCRC and local doctors and mental health professionals are all very, very concerned for his well being and future.

"Over the last seven weeks, Graciano has either slept in a van, bus station, police station, on the streets...in hospital because he has collapsed six times in the street; the last time being Thursday 9th November" he says "We need action now from the landlord to ensure that Graciano is re-housed and continues to live.

"We accept that we have a housing crises and, long term, the Government must build houses for the homeless, but the housing association needs to, firstly, find a home today for Graciano; secondly, review its policies and this case; and, thirdly, sit down in a constructive manner with all the agencies involved with the case and organisations dealing with homeless people" he insists.

McFadden ends by stating "We are, I hope, all on the same side. The Beatles once sung 'All we need is love'...In this case, 'All we need is a home'..."

When the Salford Star contacted Salix Homes about Graciano, the company responded: "Salix Homes does not believe it is fair to comment on individual cases..."

Alec McFadden responded: "I personally will neither respect nor accept a 'no comment' quote from Salix...The time for silence has long past..."

Tonight, the Salford Star understands, Graciano will be back on the streets of Salford – despite all the platitudes by the GM Mayor Andy Burnham, and Salix itself about the shocking state of homelessness in the city. For the man at the centre of this very human story, it all means nothing...

"I've got nowhere to stay, nowhere to go, but my house is there empty" sighs Graciano "Salix are trying to kill me..."

Glanford Spong wrote
at 08:37:11 on 18 November 2017
I see this ending up with someone looking very silly, and it wont be Salix.
Frustrated rent collector wrote
at 11:42:03 on 15 November 2017
Re comments by I dont do stupid. I was a rent officer for a housing organisation and if this man communicated with his provider and had an agreement WHICH HE KEPT TO then the provider would not have taken the steps to evict him. This is a blatant abuse of not paying his rent on time or keeping to an agreement. If he was in private rent or had a mortgage then he would have to pay. Ive never understood why social landlords allow people to pay when it suits them. The colour of his skin has NOTHING to do with this issue. Most of my patch were a mix of all races. Most people paid and a lot communicated and set and kep to agreements to clear the debt. A lot just buried their heads in the sand and took no responsibility. 9 times out of 10 they all had iphones and large flat screen tvs . I also blame councils that allow debt to acrue to such a level they will never get out of debt. Social Housing is not a charity is a business a the end of the day and if everyone just pays when it suits them hen you wonder why they cannot afford to keep their houses repaired. And on a final note when they do pay their debt theres no interest added so hats another temptation!!
I don't do stupid wrote
at 06:29:50 on 15 November 2017
I'm getting a bit sick of everyone stating that this poor man who has been made homeless is a fraud. If your self employed and complete jobs for customers, it is an up hill struggle to get your money. It is quite normal to have no money in your account one month and loads of money the next month. You are constantly relying on the customer to pay you on time. This does not always happen. This man paid Salix once he had the money and if your read this news story, he attempted to pay a week before his possession hearing however, his landlord gave him the wrong information. This is not an unlawful eviction however, it is an "Abuse of Process". This is because his landlord refused to give this man the correct information in order to stop his eviction. Considering this man is collapsing on a regular basis and has spent days in hospital his landlord must rehouse him ASAP. This man put more than what he owed into his rent account. This is not an act of fraud but an act of honesty. I do feel that the colour of this mans skin has effected those who have commented. We are coming close to Christmas where every man and woman should show good will to everyone. It's about time Salfordians remember that people come in many shapes, sizes and colours, and we are all equal. I would therefore request that people treat this homeless man with some Christmas spirit and compassion.
Tez wrote
at 18:58:43 on 14 November 2017
Just happened to find £2,700 in his bank account? As you do....
Bob wrote
at 09:16:23 on 14 November 2017
I agree with profit man and the others. A friend of mine lives on Cannon Green. Used to be a great block that. Salix have come up with a scheme to build another block on the site ,so they can afford to do cannon green up. These120 flats or so will not be affordable, Salix have already said so. It shows that Salix are just as greedy as private developers, even though they are less competent and better paid. I heard the directors there are on 3 grand a week each.It seems you can calculate what they are on by doing simple maths if you look at the annual report.They all get paid about the same.Where did Salix spend the 1.3 million homeless money? I have not forgot.
Calling Andy wrote
at 17:01:34 on 13 November 2017
Where is Mayor Andy Burnham on this one with his no homelessness policy?
at 14:31:03 on 13 November 2017
Two different issues really. One, here is a man who for reasons apparently only known to himself didn't pay his rent for a number of months. It gives insufficient reasons for this-was he employed and therefore wasn't eligible for housing benefit or did he or has he in the past applied for housing benefit and its a system cock up that has resulted in him accruing the arrears? He slept in a rental van needed for his work-was it taken away through non payment per the hire agreement or was he able to maintain those payments and it was taken away specifically because he either breached the hire agreement in some way or solely because he was homeless? It might be he has some redress against the van hire company if they have acted illegally against him. Perhaps the Star could ascertain a timeline of any preventative actions taken in the run up to the eviction order being issued. Secondly, if Salix homes are not perceived to be an impartial homeless agent then SUCRC should take the lead and initiate an official investigation..
Profit Man wrote
at 09:24:36 on 13 November 2017
The comment says Salix just want rent. I think they just want profit. Why are they making profit out of vulnerable people is it not illegal for a Labour council agent to make profit out of the poor, old, disabled or mentally ill. Yet these still vote Labour!
at 06:20:17 on 13 November 2017
This man says that Salix are trying to kill him. He's wrong. To Salix he is irrelevant. He simply doesn't matter. None of their 8400 tenants matter to them. You see with Salix it's all about getting the rent. If the rent's paid, then they couldn't give a shit about how you behave. They simply want the money. Salix are largely unacountable. They are literally above the law. They're like the Cattle Barons in the American West, riding roughshod over the lives and rights of the immigrant 'sodbusters". They are like the Anglo Irish landlords in Eire several centuries ago. They ARE Bastards, that is an undisputable fact; but they're not out "to kill" Gracciano, as he so wrongly states. To them he is invisible. He's a minor irritant, nothing more. That's how they vue all of their tenants. They just see us as scum, but they don't want to kill us; they just want the rent.
at 16:38:00 on 12 November 2017
Looks like there is blame to be apportioned to both parties in this dispute. I wonder what his church is doing by way of supporting him, now and prior to the eviction notice? Is there no church member who can offer him a temporary place to stay? But whats done is done, time to dust himself off and start all over again. If he had lived in private rented accommodation and didn't pay his rent he would still be in the same situation he is now...homeless. Its sad but he isn't the first to lose his house for non payment of rent and he wont be the last.
Steve wrote
at 12:39:41 on 12 November 2017
When this story was first reported two days earlier without the photograph of Graciano the tone of the comments was very different.
Brexit = democracy = freedom wrote
at 12:39:28 on 12 November 2017
@Amanda Bickerton. Right wing glorification of or armed forces, no, just proud. Without these brave men and women “past and present”, you Amanda wouldn’t be enjoying the freedoms they thought and died for, these people volunteer to pick up a rifle to defend and protect your right to freedom. Glorification no, pride and respect yes. On the self employment, hundreds of thousands of people up and down the country are self employed, but still pay the rent, sorry this bloke is just playing the system, he says he paid Salix £2000 rent arrears, let’s say it’s £500 a month rent, that 4 months none payment, why’s has he not been paying. Did he contact Salix in those 4 months to tell them he was having trouble paying, no, he tried to play the system, he though he could pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, but instead got found out. Another question, how did this bloke get a family home, yes he’s got kids, did he get this house when he was with his partner and kids, did he throw his kids and partner out, usually the women and children stay in the family home when the relationship breakdown, sorry there are just to many questions and not enough answers in the story. Amanda you talk that we don’t understand the ordeals he’s gone through, but neither do you, we only have his word for this, there are thousands of economic migrants coming in to the country using the same story, some have gone on to kill many of my fellow citizens, using the same story to get into this country, how many safe countries did this asylum seeker go through to get to Britain before claiming asylum, seems his first priority wasn’t finding a safe haven but finding the country with the best benefit system. Amanda, on Brexit, lam a proud Brexiteer, I voted for democracy and freedom. I voted to make sure the people that sit in our parliament are accountable to the people of this country and not to unelected parasites that sit in Brussels. I voted Brexit, not because I’m anti European, but because I’m pro European, each country in Europe has it’s own cultures and languages the French language is the sexiest language in the world which I love listening to. under the European superstate these cultures and languages will eventually be erased. Wouldn’t you think Amanda, since this country voted through a democratic vote to come out of this European federalist superstate, the unelected in Brussels would try to keep us in with warm words and flowers, but instead we see the this European superstate as it really is a “ dictatorship” they try to bully this country, they can’t sell Europe to us because the intelligent people who voted Brexit have pulled back the curtain just as in the wizard of oz and instead of seeing a great wizard we see a little old man called junker issuing threats. Maybe Amanda you don’t care that there there’s going to be a European army, a European finance minister and so on. This is not what British soldiers died for in two world wars, it was freedom, self determination, democracy and protecting our way of life and culture. Amanda, try to be a little more creative instead of using the race card, the race card is only used when you and others have lost the debate.
at 19:26:48 on 11 November 2017
@Amanda more like was proud. What has happened to Salford is discussing. Labour has shown disrespect for all the old ones that voted them in. If I was an old postal voter I would tell them so.
Amanda Bickerton wrote
at 17:20:40 on 11 November 2017
Most of the time I am proud to say I am from Salford. Not always, however - I am ashamed of the nasty, xenophobic sniping, the right-wing glorification of militarism and the stupidity of the belief that 'Brexit' will make any difference to non-EU migration. You do not know the full circumstances of this refugee's life. When you work, particularly on a self-employed basis, it is quite common to not be paid for a long period, then receive money owing in a lump sum. The readiness of people to assume that this man, who has probably seen and experienced things that nobody should have to deal with, is a scam-artist says a great deal about those commenting. All that viciousness and hate of the 'foreign' - this is the UK, we are all the children of immigrants, over centuries. It is interesting that Graciano will stand in the open, sharing his face and his name, but those sniping at him and spewing xenophobic bile hide behind pseudonyms and the anonymity of the internet. I think it is clear who has things to hide and to be ashamed of. I wish Graciano the very best, and hope that he finds peace and stability, through the support of people who are hospitable and kind, compassionate and honest - the people who make me proud of Salford.
Bob wrote
at 17:20:24 on 11 November 2017
Got em all going this story hasn't it? Must admit there is something a bit odd here. When did this man get the 2grand paid into his account. Where did it come from. Can he show the star his bank statements that will show if he knew the money was there. i.e. if he made withdrawals while the cash was there. It reminds me of Tony Blairs father in law. He had a couple of million in a bank account in Switzerland that he forgot about, so genuine mistakes do sometimes happen. I must admit I feel a little uncomfortable here. I am not happy with stories that seem to hint that people like salix, city west ,salford council and all of the rest of the enemies of the Salford Star readership, might actually be occaisionaly in the right. I like these lot to be in the wrong all the time. I suppose that this does show that Steve Kingston and his Star team are in fact fair and un -biased in their presentation of facts despite what our clowncil say. By the way , did anyone find out how Salix spent that £1.3 million?
Brexit = democracy = freedom wrote
at 11:16:43 on 11 November 2017
@blackmen, these ex armed forces personnel are that ex arm forces, people if need be that were willing to give their lives for this country. Your comments on these brave men and women are a disgrace, don’t bundle these people in the same basket as this freeloader. As pointed out, he had the money, Salix would have sent him letters, which he chose to ignore, so no sympathy for him. And on comments of racism, I’d say the same if they had have been white east European, which I have in the past, they all come over here with some sob story Weather white, black or pink with blue spots, at the end of the day 95% of these people are economic migrants and health tourists, here to screw us for all they can get . Amazing how the race card always gets played when the above chancers get found out.
Blackman wrote
at 10:01:40 on 11 November 2017
Justified and ancient----Yes the Salix lot and Saford council lot are a set of particularly nasty bastards and there are a lot of jumped up little shites in both. It is true that Graciano Mantato should have been paying his rent but it sounds like he had had problems and sometimes logic does not kick in when you are under stress. In the end, he paid his rent and then some up front, but Salix were so inflexible,or plain nasty, they still kicked him out of the flat. Someone then decided to report him for sleeping in his van?? Hmmm--wonder who? I appreciate what BREXIT says about SOME asylum seekers and their stories, but disagree with his views on the ex service men. Lets be honest, it is not the horrors of war that cause the problems for most of them, more a case of a lot of them were knobs before going into the army and the army was just an interlude before they end up in prison or similar. Throw in the brainwashing of army training, initiation rites and the culture of drinking and drugs and the problems are no surprise. Would some of the comments on here even be here if Graciano Mantato was a whitey?
slurp wrote
at 10:01:36 on 11 November 2017
Do we have all the pertinent facts to make a proper judgement? I think not. There's a strong suspicion this fella was giving Salix the run around and is the author of his own misfortune. He's trying to play the system all over the show and it looks like he's desperately playing the Salford Star now! Anyway it's of limited interest to most.What's more of interest is Councillor Balkind's deselection and replacement with a rabid slavering trot in the Swinton South ward. I'm sure that story would generate far more interest.
John wrote
at 10:00:10 on 11 November 2017
He must have known the proposed date of eviction and yet the day before he had no money but "On the day of the court hearing, he paid Salix £300 in the morning, then later went to a cash machine and found he had enough money to clear the whole debt." Something doesn't add up here! Where did this money come from. I wish I could go to an ATM and find extra money in my account. It seems to me that this is yet another story attempting to show Salix Homes in a bad light. This is not about a conflict of interest more about paying your rent on time and stop playing the poor me card!
Brexit = democracy = freedom wrote
at 09:02:30 on 11 November 2017
Haven’t we herd all this crap before on here, remember was it sukia, came from Africa, tried to claim asylum in Scotland, they showed her the door, then it was Liverpool, they showed her the door. Also remember she left her children to defend themselves back in Africa whilst she saved her own skin. And now we have this sob story from this bloke who had the money to pay his rent, but said sod it, I’ll get these soft touch wet socialist liberals to pay it for me, well didn’t he screw up, sorry mate I’ve no sympathy what so ever for you. We’ve got between 7-10 thousand ex military people who would have given there live to defend this country who are living on the streets of this country, these people deserve our help, these people deserve any available housing, let’s put these ex armed forces personal at the top of the housing ladder, and not the type of freeloader above. Time for this country to get a back bone, Brexit will go a long way to sorting these freeloaders out.
Ian Filkins wrote
at 09:02:19 on 11 November 2017
Must be great to be that rich you just find a couple of grand in your account you forgot about. What a load of nonsence. Why let the obvious facts get in the way of a non story?
Just pay your rent wrote
at 06:10:57 on 11 November 2017
Salix has not destroyed your dreams. YOU did by not paying your rent. If you work you pay your rent if your on benefits WE pay. It's called PERSONAL RESPOSIBILITY.
Justified & Ancient wrote
at 06:10:44 on 11 November 2017
I live in London and I thought things were bad here. I have found this news article very hard to digest. So I decided to read a few more. If this salix lot are running a Homeless Department and are allegedly evicting vulnerable adults unlawfully then surely the local police should be getting involved. I read one article where it states this salix lot are trying to evict a disabled adult for complaining. What's all that about? Salford sounds like a right hell hole to live in. Why is this not appearing in the national papers? I do hope this Salix nonsense is not true.
punk wrote
at 06:09:57 on 11 November 2017
I find it strange that he didn't pay his rent for approximately twenty four weeks, and then on the day that he's taken to court he somehow suddenly finds out that he has enough money in his bank account to pay his arrears off, and promptly does. Something doesn't quite smell right about this man's story.
Christine wrote
at 18:42:26 on 10 November 2017
I would just like to tell you that there is free lunch available at the naz community centre every Tuesday
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