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Housing for disabled - please contribute!

happy91 Member Posts: 101 Pioneering
Hello forum, I recently wrote to the BBC about the recent articles on landlords accepting DSS tenants. I would really appreciate your thoughts, input and experiences of this and if you can please do write in to the bbc about your thoughts!

Re: Online property adverts 'refusing' tenants on benefits

I'd like to share with you my experience of trying to find a home as a disabled adult.

During 2017, I became in chronic pain from a knee condition I was born with. I was diagnosed back in 2014 and not in regular pain at that time. In July 2017, my pain became overwhelming and I found it difficult to walk. I was inbetween work during the time and had recently moved back.

After some time of struggling to get to interviews and not being fit enough to concentrate on applications, I realised I would have to get my knees sorted. When I realised this, I explained to my landlords that at this time I would need help and have to claim DSS whilst waiting for it to be resolved.

My landlords became angry and violent when I explained this. I went to the council and explained that I was scared and needed somewhere to stay. My family had no room for me at home with them and no means to care for someone who is disabled.

I became homeless and moved to the YMCA. Thankfully, I had a room to myself but anyone who has stayed in a YMCA will tell you how thin the walls are, how the general attitude of the staff is that they do not care about you (besides the golden few) and how the people who stay there are not people you want to mix with. They house ex-cons, those who have left care and the disabled. I have no problem with ex-cons - if they want to change.

You have to stay there for 3 months before you can be referred to any organisations, charities and other accommodation by the YMCA. I spent 3 months searching for flats, contacting agents and asking around for somewhere to stay. Because I am unfit for work, it had to be a DSS flat. Every agency I contacted said they did not accept DSS. There were two flats I found advertised on gumtree (out of what must have been over 90 in the area) that accepted DSS, but even then they needed a guarantor. You have to know someone who earns over £20,000 a year and is prepared to cover your rent if you can't. The majority of people on benefits and having to claim DSS are unlikely to know someone who can do this and even if they do would they be comfortable to cover your rent?

I had to stay put for 3 months. It was very difficult. My benefits were still being sorted out, I had very little money to survive and was in constant pain and hardly going out. My support worker referred me to a local charity. I went to an interview with them and they put me up in their property for a period of time. If it wasn't for them, I would have had to stay at the YMCA. The YMCA has ground floor rooms and some shower rails but it really is not adapted to suit individual needs if you are disabled. Thankfully my flat with the charity is close to a lift and on one floor.

Benefits are there to care for people who are in a position where they are disabled and need help. They are there to help someone survive during the rough patches.

We cannot give with one hand and take with the other. We say we want to help the disabled, they deserve to live and have an equal quality of life. We have the Equality Act and claim to be supportive of the disabled when in fact we are ableist. The current system says: 'Yes, you deserve to be alive, it is not your fault you are disabled, but you do not deserve to have a home, or a good quality home compared to those who are not disabled.'

The same goes for women. Many of the general population think if you are on benefits you're a has been, a scrounger and you don't want to work. This is the cause of the behaviour of mortgage companies, landlords and the property market. Most people who are in pain and genuinely suffering would find it a light in their life to  work.

For me, I have been waiting 18 months to see a specialist and get re-diagnosed. I am waiting to see the knee specialist to talk to them about surgery on both knees to correct the defect. I will need operations on both knees and will need time to heal and recover. I am so grateful that working people see my life as worth keeping by creating a benefit system. It is shameful that someone who is disabled, sick, or a woman dealing with troubles in life should have any lesser standard of accommodation, or no accommodation at all, simply because of that fact.

Please can you investigate the situation on landlords accepting DSS tenants in Wales and England and I would like you to share my thoughts with whoever you can that may improve the housing of the disabled, women and those on DSS.

While waiting to be operated on and healing from operations I will need a home and I will have to rely on DSS. I will soon have to move out of my tenancy with the charity - they only keep you for a temporary period of time. I am already incredibly stressed thinking of finding somewhere to live and somewhere that will accept DSS. The world is not making room for disabled people to live independently. I would be expected by most to move back home when there is no resource for me to do that. Please continue investigating and reporting on the subject and please do get back to me if you have any further thoughts.


  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
    My thoughts are that sentimentality and bandwaggons are enemies of logical plannING. 

    This  or that person ticks the box for a conveyor belt leading to priority of available housing. Why?   

    Immigrant, convict, alcoholic, junkie, mental health, learning disabled,  ex forces, breeder of children, single parent, evicted tenant, and, the current fashion,  domestic violence. 

    Just to take the latter, we must  assume that every woman who is or has been in a personal relationship is vulnerable to being importuned by her partner, or treated in any way with lack of the full respect every human is entitled to.    Therefore, she must be helped by a raft of heavily funded organisations to hold her hand, advise and assist her, and ensure she gets the lifelong security of a subsidised council tenancy, top of the waiting list. Why?

    She might be  economically inactive, or might be on an impressive income, easily enough to get a mortgage or private tenancy instantly . Might be accompanied by multiple children, or none.   Or, as in one case,  might be already employing a nanny, while running her lucrative business,  in the  matrimonial home which her ex does not dispute she can stay in, while he remains liable for his share of the mortgage.   

    She might be easily capable, or completely incapable,  of persuading any private landlord to give her a tenancy, or any mortgage lender to give her a loan. 

    Meanwhile,  many retired disabled people are at risk of  becoming genuinely, desperately homeless.  But old people officially don't count.

     They  can sleep rough, or better still drop dead, but not in council offices,. especially if they have savings.    Councils are legally entitled to refuse any help, and to 'deem' they are  able to get private housing, no matter how disabled,  no matter if every agent in the area has turned them down..   That was the case with the Bournemouth bus shelter couple, he a wheelchair user, both in their 90' s.

       The domestic wrongdoing  complainant , meanwhile,  is 'deemed' unable to help herself, without question, however rich and however fit, strong, capable and independent she is. She is 'deemed'  to require unquestioned council housing priority.  Why?
    Houses crammed with bunk beds in sheds are unlikely to be filled with women who have ready alternatives to getting a roof over their heads.   So, if a fellow occupant or gang of occupants harms and terrorises her within her only home, that's domestic abuse, isn't it?  She needs help to escape, because by definition she cannot do it alone, right?  Wrong. 

     If she knows how to play the system, she will say her severe injuries are caused by someone she has once had a personal relationship with, and who has traced or entered the house .  Let her tell the truth, however, that she has suffered multiple abuse from a fellow housesharer(/s), and is terrified to enter her home, and she will be rejected by every source of help.  She doesn't count.   

     The domestic abuse conveyor belt agencies 'deem' her as merely a neighbour dispute case, who ought to go and get a safer place to live by getting a mortgage or a private tenancy.

  • justg72
    justg72 Member Posts: 173 Pioneering
    Hi happy91
    You can get information about renting homes which do accept DSS from the housing benefit office. They have a list of landlords and some do not require a bond etc.You can also apply for a discretionary housing payment which helps costs of moving, rent in advance and bonds etc. I did not know about this and if I had I would not be in the home I am in now because its no good for my disability.
  • happy91
    happy91 Member Posts: 101 Pioneering
    justg72 said:
    Hi happy91
    You can get information about renting homes which do accept DSS from the housing benefit office. They have a list of landlords and some do not require a bond etc.You can also apply for a discretionary housing payment which helps costs of moving, rent in advance and bonds etc. I did not know about this and if I had I would not be in the home I am in now because its no good for my disability.
    Justg, thanks for this. Reminded me having a word with Shelter is probably a good idea. It's annoying there needs to be a difference in how to seek accomodation because of a disability. Hope you find a more suitable home.
  • happy91
    happy91 Member Posts: 101 Pioneering
  • Government_needs_reform
    Government_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    edited November 2018
    happy91 said:
    @Government_needs_reform have you seen this?

    @happy91 yep. I've just read this in whole context, it sounds like you've certainly been through the ringer that's for sure, really sorry to see how you've bee treated.

    Looking for a home while on benefits is a big problem these days and to be honest the private sector is the worse as they don't like claimants it's even worse now if your on Universal Credit.

    As justg72 has already mentioned above is worth trying as it's maybe the only options for you it's a sad situation you're in I really fell for you.

    I will keep my ears open and post any further information I can find.

    Stay strong as you can be?? It's hard I know.

    I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
    This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
    I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

    You can see the video here.


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