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

louise44louise44 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 

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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 10,013 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 
  • louise44louise44 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
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 700 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.  
  • louise44louise44 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. 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,556 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.
  • louise44louise44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank you very much, I will have a look at these links 😊
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,556 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome ....hope they may help. :)
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