How To Get Help To Move To A Better Suited Home — Scope | Disability forum
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How To Get Help To Move To A Better Suited Home

MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous

I’m in a really bad place mentally at the moment due to a home swap situation, with a friend who benefited from swapping homes, and I have loved her home due to it having a private garden which I truly need due to my severe agoraphobia.

All the forms had been filled in and sent back to our Housing Association.
It was all going ahead.

She had approached us due to not being able to afford living alone in a 3 bedroom home, which needed completely gutting as she had let it get to such an inhabitable home, whereas our home is decorated to a high standard, nothing needed doing. 

Then on Thursday 19th September, we were chatting about how excited it was for all of us, she was so relieved to be moving from her home to ours. Whilst we were chatting I received a text saying about the survey that needs to be done in the process.... the ball was rolling.... she was overjoyed and I was so excited.

3.5hrs later I received a text, (she had spent time with her son), a devastating text which ripped my heart, soul and spirit out of me.... she had changed her mind and that was that! 

My best friend of more than 22 years had devastated me beyond anything I’d ever gone through.

My self harming kicked straight in, cutting, hitting, clawing at my throat, suicidal thoughts at the front of my mind, an empty lost shell I had become.

So here I am today asking advice.

How do you get help to move from your housing association to a home that is more beneficial for your mental and physical health issues? 

I desperately need a garden, as I have Vitamin D Deficiency due to never going outside which has severely impacted on my osteoarthritis throughout my whole spine, my Cauda Equina Syndrome, my Borderline Personality Disorder, everything. 

Having our own garden, I could feel secure and safe it would mean the world to me, and my husband too, who sadly has to cope with me on a daily basis, and so worried right now, that he will come home and find me dead or near to death like in the past. 

Where can I find helpful information that really gives me something positive to focus on? 
Which can teach me how to get the help I need? 

My psychiatrist has no idea how to help me, and I think he feels I’m a loosing cause, as my last appointment was over the phone as he doesn’t do home visits, and he basically said he had no idea how to help me, which wasn’t helpful at all.

I’m so lost, and have no idea what to do. I need help if I’m to survive this devastating blow from my best and only friend, leaving me with only my husband and my mum in my life, and no friends at all. 

Living with mental, physical health and agoraphobia is such a lonely life as you lose friends who don’t understand you. 

Any advice out there??? 
Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.


  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 10,413 Disability Gamechanger
    Your friend changed their mind, that was their right please don't lose the friendship because of that, talk to your HA and see what options are available, are there more than one HA's in your area? if so contact them all.
    Don't get me wrong I understand that you are upset and confused but try and see the wider picture and if possible move on, if you need people to talk to this is a great forum for that.
    Take care x
    Seasons greetings to one and all 🎄🎅🏻🌲
  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous

    thank you for your response. 

    Unfortunately this friend has hurt me before by hacking into my email account, which I forgave her, even though that is an illegal and arrest-able offence. 

    She was was overjoyed when we agreed to the swap as no one wanted to swap with her previously due to the state of her home. 

    She has truly hurt and devastated me as she knows all about my health issues, and she was so desperate to move, but what she did was blamed me for rushing the process which is controlled by the HA and not me, also, like I said before, she approached us in desperation.

    I can’t forgive her for what she has done to me, as she knows how unwell I am due to being a prisoner of my home from agoraphobia. 

    They way she ended the swap by a text and not in person after spending 3 hours with her son, who she told me is her favourite son out of her 3 sons, who has a way of controlling her.
    He is married, never has worked, is in a halfway home with his pregnant wife and 1 year daughter, so he is after her home. He has always hated me and my husband, has always been so jealous of us and how nice our home is decorated. We just look after our home and possessions and furniture. We are not loaded with money, we just manage each month now that I can’t work anymore.

    I have done so much for her over the 22 years, I’ve given her thousands of pounds in the past (when I worked full time before my health issues, nearly paralysed, ended my career due to severe anxiety leading to agoraphobia) I was always constantly treating her whenever we did things together. 

    I know you mean well by saying to forgive her and move on... I will move on but never forgive her for what she has done in a cowardly way.

    Her garden is huge, and guess what, she never goes outside to enjoy her garden but hates having a garden which is another reason she wanted us to swap with her, saving her nearly £200 per month. Whereas she can’t afford to live in her home, constantly stressed due to lack of money.

    I am lost, as I have spoken to my Housing Officer in the past, with never receiving any help or understanding. 

    I honestly don’t want to exist anymore, which is in my mind since she devastated me. I have cuts and bruises all over neck, face and arms. 

    When she approached us to benefit herself, I was so happy to finally hope we would have a garden as I thought at the time.
    To have that snatched away, she knew that I would end suicidal again, as she knows how vulnerable I am. 

    I honestly don’t know where I legally stand regarding having a garden, which technically outside our ground floor flat is a plot of land that nobody else uses, which could be made into our private garden, so that we don’t have to move. 
    We have been on HomeSwapper for at least 3 years, people like our home so much but want a garden.

    I desperately need legal advice and helpful information, so I know what to ask the Housing Officer and where I legally stand so that if he is lying I have the right information to quote on him, so that I have the strength to cope with that phone call.

    I’m absolutely heartbroken, betrayed, I feel destroyed by what she has done to me. 
    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • Cressida
    Cressida Community member Posts: 994 Connected
    @MaxineAshley have you tried posting in local Facebook pages that you are looking for a house swap and your requirements? Take some photos and say what you are looking for. There are other options apart from your friend's house. If she has pressure put on her from her son and his family it is natural that she will be torn in her loyalties, especially as there are children involved. Look on gumtree as they sometimes have adverts for house swops. There are other options out there. 
  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Community member Posts: 6,388 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @MaxineAshley   Thank you for your post. Sorry to hear this. 

    I do understand and have a lot of compassion what you are going through right now.

    I live in a housing association property know they have a duty of care towards members of our community.

    Know they need to respond to any problems or issues you have.

    If this helps look at my housing association.

    Please if I can add there is help and advice on any legal matters on housing speak to CAB.

    Please take care.


    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous
    @Cressida I appreciate your opinion but unfortunately I can not do Facebook, Instagram or Twitter due to horrendous problems in the past from receiving inappropriate photos from men on Facebook and Instagram constantly which has put me off ever using social media again. 

    The issue with that friend is that is that she lied to me, and knew how beneficial it would be for both of us to swap, and she promised not to tell her son until we had an official Yes from the HA, as she knows how he changes her mind. 

    But Thank You for your suggestions. 

    Kind Regards 
    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous

    thank you for your comment and link to your housing association which I will definitely read, as I’m trying all the options that I can think of, and eventually contacting my local MP to see what he can do. 

    At the moment I feel each door I open is slammed into face, and then trying to find more energy to keep going. 

    I just feel at breaking point today, as I can’t sleep, eat, do anything as I’m so depressed and devastated by what has happened, and that it was my one and only friend who had stood by me as my best friend for 22 years, always benefitting from what I can do and offer with my knowledge and generosity.

    I’m so lost and hate how my mind is taking over due to my Borderline Personality Disorder.

    I will definitely check the link out. 

    Thank you once again @thespiceman for your help and guidance. 

    Kind Regards 
    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Community member Posts: 6,388 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @MaxineAshley   Thank you for reply. Please can I add I know you in a lot of pain and heartbreak.

    Which I do understand it is a terrible shock and devastating.

    Having been there recently. I am aware of the frailties of your mind and body as we have talked before. Many times have a lot of concerns right now.

    As a valued member of our community which you are. I think what is important is to talk to some one who recognises the issues you are going through.

    Is that possible do you have a team around you to talk to any additional support or a health worker.?

    Please may I suggest talking to The Samaritans does help.

    Please contact them on  116  123.

    Please can I also add might be worth looking at these mental health charities. You could look at MIND website or consider speaking to this one I used.

    Please could help with your mental health and offer anything else guidance with any thing else. Your additional disabilities.

    Help with floating support and outreach workers..

    I know your struggling but there is a lot of hope and faith out there.  You are part of this forum and community.  

    I too lost a friend of a long time ago only recently. It does hurt and smart and you given so much and much of your time and energy.

    Please do not be hard on yourself.  You done nothing wrong here. You are going to be OK I am always here anytime to listen.

    You mentioned your partner that is important part of your life and he needs to know how you are.

    You need to share and tell your partner how you are and how he can help you.

    Small steps and take your time.  Please can I say you need to speak to your GP as well they need to make sure that your mental health is taken care of and need to start anything to make sure you are coping.

    Please you will recover be strong.  I know that is easy to say but you should be proud of all your achieved and doing in your life.

    Please can I also say this community is a place to talk to those who will be supportive.

    Please if I can be of any help just anything please ask me.  Your not alone.

    Always in prayers.

    Take care.


    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,671 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @MaxineAshley
    I am sorry to hear you are having such a tough time. You mention self harm and feelings of suicide, it is important you speak to someone who is trained to support you in this. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 and MIND have some information on self harm that may help you.

    Regarding your housing issues, you can call Shelter on their helpline number on 0808 800 4444 for free, confidential advice on housing problems.
    Senior online community officer
  • Geoark
    Geoark Community member Posts: 1,455 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @MaxineAshley sorry to hear that the transfer fell through,

    By all means you can speak to your housing officer regarding using some of the land as a personal garden, however there is no legal obligation for them to do so, and may be valid reasons why they cannot.

    What I can suggest is to see what supported living schemes are local to you, or in areas you would be prepared to move to. You would need to fit their criteria. Supported Living is an umbrella term which covers a range of services, but can include individual homes, some with gardens. The amount of support you receive would depend on your needs and what you want. Considering your mental state this may be as little as someone visiting you when you are feeling this low. If your landlord turns you down for converting the plot of land you have in mind to a garden this could be one way to move forward.

    If you do decide to look at this route one thing I would advise is to look closely at the service charges, what they are for, if they are fixed or variable and what element, if any, are not covered by housing benefit. None HB charges are generally those that are provided to you individually. For example if your landlord provides you with heating and hot water, as it is unlikely that they will allow  you to come off this service. Even if they are HB eligible you may find yourself paying for communal services that you may not personally use but will need to help pay for, community room/hall for example. You will need to have a discussion with your husband as to whether this is worth paying for to get what you need. It is unlikely that you will be able to get these charges removed after signing for the tenancy and moving in, it is also unlikely that you will be able to get them removed prior to signing the tenancy as it will be part of how the services are paid for. Don't let this put you off from looking though, I mention this mainly so you go into any new tenancy knowing what you are signing up for and it doesn't become another burden for  you later on.

    It is unlikely to be a quick fix, but at least adds another option for you, but hope you find a solution soon.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,586 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @MaxineAshley, it sounds like things have been really tough. I don't have anything to add but I just wanted to let you that we are here if you need anymore guidance and please do keep us updated.

  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous
    edited October 2019
    Hi Everyone 

    I thought I’d update you.

    The Housing Officer came to see me for a home visit, and could see how bad my agoraphobia and anxiety is affecting my life and my husband’s life too.

    He spoke to me about the sudden shut down of the house swap and said that he could see how devastated I am. 

    My mother who is also my carer came along, and my husband too joined the meeting as my husband struggles to talk and also doesn’t really understand how my health is seriously affected by the ongoing agoraphobia, which physically and mentally affects my health. 

    The Housing Officer was here for about 2 hours.

    The plot of land I thought was ideal, he said no to that, but came up with a better idea which benefits me due to location for the sunshine.

    He knows I can’t be overlooked, so he has taken that into account, as all the other homes windows could easily look into my secure garden. 

    He has gone back to his office to work on the plans, and will update me on the 11th October.

    If it is all agreed to, the Housing Association will pay for the 6 ft high fences.

    We then will have to find the money for a new door (as we only have a window in the kitchen diner), and also for the coverage of the garden with many ideas how it would be made so no one can see me, but I still benefit from the fresh air and sunlight.

    So, I need to know where I can find funding towards the door and coverage?

    As my husband and I cannot afford that, as our income is low due to me not able to work.  (I receive PIP and ESA benefits, which is so helpful for day to day living, but doesn’t cover the cost of building) and my husband works full time at Tesco’s on the basis pay. (I worked in the same store for 18 yrs until my back went, leaving me stuck in bed from February to August with Cauda Equina Syndrome, very close to being paralysed from the waist down to my toes, and my mental disorder was finally diagnosed in the same year, so double whammy of physical and mental health disorders... I was eventually pensioned off due to ill health as there was no job I could physically do as well as the thousands of people surrounding me and my anxiety ticks freaking out customers).

    Please could anyone help me to find who could be able to fund this, so I can be prepared if the Housing Association definitely say yes?

    As I have no idea where to look for help with that without all of you who truly care and are so helpful and knowledgeable. 

    I want to be excited by this, but at the moment I can’t allow myself to be due to what happened with my best friend who wanted to swap then suddenly changed her mind, and left me so devastated and honestly, so suicidal, so I can afford to be excited until I hear a “Yes” from the HA.

    Maybe after all, this is the best outcome if it’s a Yes rather than taking on her house which literally is falling around her due to no up-keeping with no respect of looking after a home, unlike our home, which is so lovely decorated to a high standard, and so perfect inside and out (minus a garden at the moment).
    Plus my gorgeous 3 indoor cats will be nice and safe too as they venture outside to enjoy the sun for the first time in their lives, Toby: 11, Tilly: 10 and Tommy: 5, also our 1 year old Basset Hound puppy will benefit while my husband is at work too. 

    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,586 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @MaxineAshley, I'm glad you have had some positivist and they were so understanding about your needs. I can see why you'd be cautious about getting excited due to your past experiences.

    Have you looked at Disability Facility Grants? They may be able to fund the coverage on the basis of it helping your mental health. 

  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous

    Thank you for your kind words and guidance too. 

    I will look into, and save the link on my phone so that I can definitely have that website to hand when I find out more next Friday. 

    As I have no idea how much a back door will cost as it will need a window next to it like my window in the dining area. Also no idea how much it would cost with some ideas I’m trying my best not to get excited about it yet. 

    It’s so nice being part of this community as everyone is so understanding and kind. 
    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,586 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @MaxineAshley, that is no problem at all! I am glad you like being part of the community, it's great to have you here.

    I hope the link helps and if not then please do not hesitate to ask for more guidance.

  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous

    thank you so much for your help. 

    And it’s so nice to know that I can turn to you for more help if needed, I truly appreciate that. 

    Will keep you updated. 

    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • buzzer
    buzzer Community member Posts: 106 Pioneering
    approach your local authority, an OT assessment may help, you could find your local HA are able to make adaptions to a up certain financial amount, especially if it’s their property.  The OT/ LA could also advise on DFG (disabled facilities grants) if the cost is beyond the allotted budget. HA properties would normally be serviced by their own maintenance department, they would put ramps and minor adaptions as advised by LA OT.

    Try & be kind to one another even if we may have different views. 

  • MaxineAshley
    MaxineAshley Community member Posts: 38 Courageous

    Thank you for your knowledge and extremely helpful information. 

    All this helpful knowledge from you and @Chloe_Scope’s knowledge gives me so much hope when I hear a Yes from the HA, so that I can finally have a outdoor space to feel save and secure in and enjoy the fresh air. 

    I was just looking out of my kitchen window which is on the kitchen side, less than a metre wide, and I can imagine what it will feel like to no longer see my neighbours windows but instead see hanging baskets, pot plants and my very own washing line, all securely tucked away in my sun trap patio’ed garden which I can access from just moving about 2 metres to the back door to go outside. 
    Writing my first novel, excited to get it finished.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,586 Disability Gamechanger
    That sounds really lovely @MaxineAshley and I'm glad we have been able to offer you some guidance on this. Please do let us know how you get on. :)


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