I've applied for council housing, but the waiting list could be long. Not sure who to talk to — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

I've applied for council housing, but the waiting list could be long. Not sure who to talk to

louise44
louise44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
Hi there, I'm new here. Myself and my 3 children have to leave our home of 12 years as the landlord wants to move back. I've had to apply to the council as I can no longer afford to private rent on housing benefit. Even though they have said we need 4 bedrooms the chance of getting a 4 bed house or a 3 bed house with separate dining room to use as bedroom is very low and will take a long time. We are currently in band 2. What I am most worried about is that there is a good chance we will end up in temporary housing. I'm really worried how my youngest daughter who is autistic will cope with this situation.  The temporary housing for our county is 20 miles away from our home town, school etc. Also it is a kind of motel at the back of a busy pub. I'm concerned how my daughter will cope with the constant noise from the pub. Also she spends a lot of time in her bedroom at home as the quiet and space helps her but this place is only one room so she won't be alone. Also the door to the room opens straight into the carpark, a bit like an American style motel. I'm worried if she is having a meltdown if she would be safe. I don't really know who I can talk to about my concerns. 
Thanks 

Tagged:

Comments

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 15,941 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community 

    Sorry to hear about your housing situation 

    I would contact shelter who may be able to offer some advice 
  • louise44
    louise44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi, thank you for your reply. Unfortunately Shelter aren't taking on any new clients at the moment as they are too busy so they couldn't speak to me. So I need someone else, but thank you x
  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
    It is something experts will tell you about but on the face of it, two things cross my mind: Given the urgency as well as the autistic situation, shouldn't you be re-assessed as band one? (Is there an autistic society or social worker who will intervene?)  Trying to make an advantage out of a problem, you could point out that the cost of having to put your daughter into the care she will need if the council's failure to provide suitable housing for someone with disability will  be greater than putting you into hotel rooms or suitable accommodation near the right area, and with the quiet and security she needs.    They need to have that spelled out, because it ought to alarm them.  They can possibly make a discretionary adjustment to the housing benefit, if it allows you to rent privately?
    The second thing I wondered is if you may be making the perfect stand in the way of the least-worst?  For instance, if you could make do with sleeping on the sofa, and manage with two bedrooms for the children, it would at least give you a roof while you try for something better.  Councils often make things easier for themselves by just waiting for the private landlord to evict, then keeping the family off the street by cramming them into whatever is available that minute.   You know one place, and there may be even worse. Certainly in London there are tales of entire families crammed into one room, with violent addicts and mental patients beating on the door.  That would be hard for anyone, but completely impossible for your daughter.

    As far as I know, most councils now make people 'serve time' in emergency shelters, sometimes for years, because they simply don't have empty council housing.   People can, and do, stay in a one, two, three or four bed council house for the rest of their lives, for a very trivial 'underoccupancy' surcharge.   (If they realised there were families like yours, they might possibly think again)  Therefore, the best any new people can hope for is an eventual move from an emergency shelter into a private rented place where the landlord is willing to let to people sent by the council. 

    By the way, as the council has assessed you need four bedrooms, have you looked at the local housing allowance chart for four bedrooms?  Again, it is something a housing expert would tell you, but the way I thought it worked was that as long as you are council-assessed as needing four, you can claim the rate for four. Therefore, if you can make do with things as you suggest, using a non-bedroom as a child's bedroom (and possibly a sofa-bed for yourself)  it would make the housing allowance more than enough for you to rent privately.  
  • louise44
    louise44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks so much for your message Newborn. When you say it's something a housing expert may be able to help with, do you know where I find one? I could do with some advice. 
    I asked the council about private renting too as I would be happy to do that if I can afford it. The main issue was a 3 bed is impossible even if I sleep on the sofa as the local housing rate is £830 for a 3 bed and the actual cost is at least £1200. I wouldn't know if I would get a discretionary housing payment until I moved in so I could move and then be unable to afford the rent. 
    A 4 bed I thought might be more possible because the shortfall is only around £200 a month. However the council said they have assessed me as a 4 bed need as my autistic daughter can't share. But sometimes apparently universal credit won't pay a 4 bed rate even though the council say you need one. I asked if I could apply and find out if they would pay for a 4 bed but the council said they won't agree in principle. So basically I'd have to move out of here, into a 4 bed and then could possible be told they will only pay for 3 bed after all in which case I'd have a shortfall of around £600 per month. 
    I'm thinking what you suggested and moving into a 3 bed council house if one comes up and I will just have to make do with the lounge to sleep in. It won't be the best as I'm probably having to go onto long term oxygen but it would be better than the temporary room that I mentioned. I just can't see how my daughter would cope sleeping in one room with me and her 18 and 15 year old siblings and no real cooking facilities. I feel like I don't really have any good options at all unfortunately. 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,465 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @louise44 - & welcome to the community. I don't know if it would be helpful to you (but do know it has at least helped one of our members), but it might be an idea to get an advocate who can assist in speaking on your behalf. There's some general info on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/help-from-social-services-and-charities/someone-to-speak-up-for-you-advocate/    which includes a link to VoiceAbility (the one that has helped one of our members). Unfortunately they're not available in all areas, but you could take a look: https://www.voiceability.org/     or consider the other options on the NHS website.
  • louise44
    louise44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank you very much, I will have a look at these links ?
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,465 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome ....hope they may help. :)
  • Amazingwave1
    Amazingwave1 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I've been living in a private rented house since 2014. The rent was £750PCM. I have 2 boys one aged 7 with ASD/GDD and an EHCP, my other aged 8 with ASD/LD. I was on a joint tenancy with my father who passed away in September and the landlord had me do a new tenancy agreement as my housing benefit entitlement dropped to £375PCM. I couldn't afford to pay £375 difference per month so I signed the new agreement and he increased the rent to £1000PCM. They gave me discretionary housing benefit top up to pay the rent guaranteed for 12 months. I have struggled to find a 3 bedroom house in surrounding areas up to £900PCM if I top up with my benefits. The landlord sent me a message in March saying he couldn't afford to keep the house on anymore and wanted to sell it. The council know this but have put me in Band 4 on the list. Every house I have found want working home owner guarantors or they don't rent to people on benefits due to stipulations with buy to let mortgages and landlord insurance. Everything else in the surrounding areas are between £1000-£1250 for 3 bedroom houses.
    My youngest childs special needs school have also said if I relocate to another area in this town, then I could lose his school placement. My other child was reassessed by CAHMS in March and Educational Psychologist and now his mainstream school finally have the evidence to apply for an EHCP for him. 
    Shelter can't help me either. I was told my band won't increase until I'm actuallly being evicted. Then they would offer me temporary accommodation in a B&B. 
    Guess we just have to keep on looking but I must find something and soon as I can't risk being made homeless and losing their school placements. There is no way we could cope living in one room as my youngest only sleeps 3-4 hours, is still in nappies, non verbal but frequently does high pitched ear piercing shreiking and screeching. The boys can't share a bedroom as the youngest attacks the oldest.
    Praying we both find something suitable quick!! ??? Xxx 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 12,465 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Amazingwave1 - & welcome to the community. I'm sorry Shelter have been unable to help, but they do have some info on their website about landlords who may accept those on benefits: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/how_to_find_landlords_who_accept_benefits
    There are other resources; the difficulty may be in finding one in your area, but I'll list some in the hope they may help:
    I don't know if there are any Housing Association properties nearby that you could apply to directly, but again there'll likely be a wait. Some info here: https://www.gov.uk/housing-association-homes
    As I mentioned above, it might be helpful if you had an advocate to help too. Try: https://www.voiceability.org/  but they're not in all areas. Hope some of this helps.  :)
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 15,941 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there 

    Have you had a care needs assessment done by your local social services 

    You can self refer on the gov website 

    An ot will come and asses your housing needs and do a report for social housing 

    This often gets you further up the banding 
  • Amazingwave1
    Amazingwave1 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you. I will give those a try. Xxx 
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 8,789 Scope online community team
    I'm glad you've been able to get lots of useful advice above @Amazingwave1 :) 

    Just in case you need it, here's the gov.uk link to find out more about self-referring for a needs assessment

    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your father, and that you're having to cope with all of this on top of that. How have you been feeling about it all? 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to tell us how we're doing? Complete our feedback form now.

Brightness

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.