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Thread: Council housing and discrimination

  1. #1
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    Council housing and discrimination

    For the first 29 years of my life i lived in a small village where most my family still live, i suffered with agoraphobia but was able to go out alone in the area where i lived and had a relatively normal life even though i had agoraphobia i was still able to function.
    I then had no choice but to move to a town as i could not find a landlord/lady in or near the area i use to live who would take housing benefit.
    Since moving to the town 9 years ago i have not been able to live my home on my own, not even in to the front garden, i have my sitting room at the back of my house and have the blinds at the front of the house closed due to so many people walking past my home and going to a busy shop across the road from me.
    Since moving to the town i have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia and OCD.
    I can no longer answer or use the phone to people i do not know well, i cant answer the front door or even go in the back garden on my own, i also do not feel safe in my home so i feel anxiety 24/7.
    Since moving here we have had 2 muggings in my street, one which was right outside my house, a arson attack to a shop and 3 police raids to the house next door so add that on to the anxiety i already feel.
    I have to rely on my husband to go out and get anything that we need and he has suffered with depression since moving here so at times he is too ill to go out.
    My family cannot give me support as my brother who is disabled has to park outside my house but due to the busy shop there are hardly ever any spaces, my father cannot help as we have parking restrictions in the road which only allows you to park for 5 mins outside the shop or up to an hour in a bay which are never empty, my father also has to take me to appointments as i and my husband do not drive and i find knowing i have to leave the house within 5 mins of my dad parking very stressful which adds to the anxiety i already feel.
    I have been assessed by ATOS and been placed in the support group and i receive DLA low care and mobility.

    2 years ago i went on the council housing list (The council gave their housing stock to a housing association ) to move back to the area in lived in and i have explained to the council that i find living here impossible, that it is too big, there are too many people, i do not feel safe going out and i will not be able to go out alone until i move back to a small village and can have support from my family.
    If i moved i would be in a small village that i know with less people and i would have my family for support and could go back to how i use to be.
    I provided supporting letters from my GP, 2 social workers, a mental health advocate, a CBT therapist and a psychiatrist all saying how severe my mental health is, how badly my housing effects it and that i am likely to improve if i was able to move.
    The councils medical panel ( a housing officer & a GP ) assessed me and said that i had a medium medical condition and a low effect on it from housing so only awarded me 30 medical points ( lowest they give )
    I appealed but was told it was staying the same.
    I was assessed again and told its staying the same so i asked my mental health advocate to ask how they made the decision and she was told they dont keep notes so i wrote a letter asking and i was sent a letter saying the panel believe it is not impossible for me to live here.

    A few months ago they changed from giving points to banding and i was assessed again so i sent in a 17 page letter explaining how my housing affects me and requested information from them on their housing stock and if they treat people with a physical condition differently to those with a mental health condition but they ignored my request.
    This is nothing new as when my psychiatrist wrote in a letter that 'she says moving back to the village she grew up in she would improve and this is likely' they put a restriction on me that i could only bid on properties in that village, i told them that i had not just said that village to him i had also mentioned other villages but hes not going to remember the names and that i can move to other villages where i would improve...they insisted a medical profession gave them a letter confirming what i said, i told them again that a medical profession would only be able to repeat what i tell them as only i know where i can move to and i would not bid on any properties in areas i would not improve in yet they would still not take my word for it and insisted on a letter from a medical profession like i was a complete loon who did not know my own mind.

    This last assessment i was told i am in band D as i have a low medical need to move, band D is the lowest band they have, i am now in the same band as people leaving prison, people who live with their mum and dad and want their own place and people who have to walk through one room to get to another, ALL these people would of had hardly any points so would of been on the list longer than me yet they will now be in front of me on the bidding list as it is now in order of time spent on the housing list, soo if i bid on a property it goes like this people in band a, band b, band c and those who have been on the list longer than me in band d then me.

    I am sure that they are treating me differently to a person with a physical condition that prevents them leaving their home without assistance.
    According to their policy the banding is not based on what is wrong with you but is based on how your housing effects your condition so in other words the outcome of it.
    I believe that i a person with a mental health condition who cannot leave their home without assistance should be placed in the same band as a person with a physical condition who cannot leave their home without assistance but i have a feeling that i have not been, i think those with a physical condition have been placed higher than me in the bands.

    According to the disability act a person with mental health problems and due to them they cannot carry out normal day to day activities should be classed as disabled and i do not think i am being.
    I also asked them if i would be considered for a over 55s bungalow as due to the social phobia i could not live in a flat, the two years on the list not one one bedroom house has been put up and most bungalows are for over 55s only, i also know they have under 55s with a disability living in over 55s only bungalows and want to be treated the same but they ignored me.

    I have tried reading through the disability discrimination act but i cant seem to get any info if it is discrimination to treat a person with a mental health condition less favorably than a person with a physical condition?

    I have just put in another request for information to them asking them to explain in full why they think its not impossible for me to live here, asking if i will be considered for a over 55s property, asking if they have anyone with a physical condition that prevents them leaving their home without assistance above me in the bands and i have put in a complaint that i was not sent the information the first time i asked.

    Any info or advice would be great please, i am also going through a ESA review so my anxiety is sky high and my advocate said she is only allowed to deal with one issue at a time and as shes trying to get me an appointment for another assessment with the mental health team she cant help me with ESA or the council.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing yor problem with us. And I can understand how you wish to get back to a place where you have a close support network.

    As you're aware there's a new way of assessing people and placing them in bands. This gives you an idea as to how probable it is that you'll win a bid.

    As you've been placed in band 'D' the likelihood of winning any bid is extremely low to the point where it would take maybe 10 years before you moved as many tenants are bidding for one bed flats sue to the bedroom tax.

    The only people who are automatically at the top of the list are homeless people in hospital as they are 'bed blockers'.

    From your point of view I think the only way to have a chance of getting back to a village is through a home swop.

    Check this out. http://www.homeswapper.co.uk

    The reason why you find many people under 55 who are wheelchair users in sheltered accommodation is because it's wheelchair friendly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    Thanks for sharing yor problem with us. And I can understand how you wish to get back to a place where you have a close support network.

    As you're aware there's a new way of assessing people and placing them in bands. This gives you an idea as to how probable it is that you'll win a bid.

    As you've been placed in band 'D' the likelihood of winning any bid is extremely low to the point where it would take maybe 10 years before you moved as many tenants are bidding for one bed flats sue to the bedroom tax.

    The only people who are automatically at the top of the list are homeless people in hospital as they are 'bed blockers'.

    From your point of view I think the only way to have a chance of getting back to a village is through a home swop.

    Check this out. http://www.homeswapper.co.uk

    The reason why you find many people under 55 who are wheelchair users in sheltered accommodation is because it's wheelchair friendly.
    Thank you for your reply.
    Band A is for applicants with an emergency medical condition,welfare need or disability which is critically affected by their housing circumstances, Applicants with an exceptional need to move. This includes those owed a homelessness duty or who would be owed a homelessness duty if assessed as a result of being a victim of violence, harassment, intimidation or where threats of violence are likely to be carried out.
    A tenant moving from a larger property to a smaller one, tenants who need work doing, and farm workers.

    To be honest i didn't expect to be put in band A but i do expect to be put in band B for these reasons, Applicants who have been awarded high medical priority, Applicants who have been awarded high priority need to move due to hardship or welfare needs, Applicants who need to move to a particular locality in the District to give and receive care or support.
    Applicants who need to move to a particular locality in the District to give and receive care or support.
    I expect to be put in the same band as those who have a physical condition which prevents them leaving their home without assistance as our effect of housing on our conditions are the same and this is what the banding is based on the effect not the condition.
    I live in a private property not council so i cant swap and in the areas i need to move to no one would be willing to swap to move here.

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    Senior Member susieboots's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine the distress this is causing. Would it be at all possible for you to give up your tenancy and move in temporarily with your family in the village? You could perhaps then apply for a home based on overcrowding. Alternatively re-apply for a private tenancy in the village. Sometimes landlords state no DSS but if they are given the opportunity to meet you they can change their minds.

    I don't know what to advise, but I am sure someone will be able to help on here. Wishing you lots of luck, and please keep us informed.

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    Giving up a house and moving in with family to be overcrowded will be viewed as making oneself deliberately homeless, and overcrowded to try and secure a higher priority . Don't think that will work tbh.

    Is it not possible to find a private rental less stressful than where you are living just now. ie not in a busy street across from a shop? Even although it's not in the village of your choice, , surely in the short term it would be better than living in a rowdy street, where there's no available parking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by susieboots View Post
    My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine the distress this is causing. Would it be at all possible for you to give up your tenancy and move in temporarily with your family in the village? You could perhaps then apply for a home based on overcrowding. Alternatively re-apply for a private tenancy in the village. Sometimes landlords state no DSS but if they are given the opportunity to meet you they can change their minds.

    I don't know what to advise, but I am sure someone will be able to help on here. Wishing you lots of luck, and please keep us informed.
    Thank you.
    It wouldn't work moving in with family as my dad has a 3 bed house so we would not be overcrowded anyway and the reason for moving would be removed so i would stand no chance of ever getting a council place, living with my dad would not work out for many reasons and i would be removing one lot of anxiety and replacing it with a different lot.

    I can move to many villages it does not have to be the one i grew up in but they are expensive areas so in 10 years i have never seen one place up for rent that will take housing benefit and to be honest housing benefit would not cover the rent either, even living here we have to pay £125 of our rent so there we would have to pay £100s of it, even a small one bed can be over £900 a month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seriouslyfedup View Post
    Giving up a house and moving in with family to be overcrowded will be viewed as making oneself deliberately homeless, and overcrowded to try and secure a higher priority . Don't think that will work tbh.

    Is it not possible to find a private rental less stressful than where you are living just now. ie not in a busy street across from a shop? Even although it's not in the village of your choice, , surely in the short term it would be better than living in a rowdy street, where there's no available parking.
    If i moved somewhere else less stressful it would not be short term as i would be stuck there, they wont put me in a higher band while i live here so if i was somewhere better i would be even more worse off on getting somewhere or getting my band put up.
    Thats whats so frustrating, i have to stay here and live like this to stand a chance of ever getting back to my family and in the meantime i am getting worse and my life is on hold.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Stig's Avatar
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    Get yourself a social worker and he/she can arrange for an assessment by disability services or whatever your loccal council call their department which deals with community living for the disabled and get you rebanded to the B which i think you may be entitled to

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    Quote Originally Posted by sara1975 View Post
    If i moved somewhere else less stressful it would not be short term as i would be stuck there, they wont put me in a higher band while i live here so if i was somewhere better i would be even more worse off on getting somewhere or getting my band put up.
    Thats whats so frustrating, i have to stay here and live like this to stand a chance of ever getting back to my family and in the meantime i am getting worse and my life is on hold.
    Understand what you're saying but the officials who work out what your banding and priority need might also share the opinion you could improve your conditions by moving to another somewhat less stressful private rental and as a result won't give you the higher band, because you're being seen as deliberately not helping yourself in order to get a higher band. ? Worth thinking about.

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    Senior Member mikeydt1's Avatar
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    sara just to let you know that when i registered with our council even with medical points we were also put in one of the lower bandings and that was even with a doctors letter!

    to be honest i thought we had no chance but after 6 months we managed to get a property the question is how did we do it. the one thing not to do when bidding is to place any bids on those properties with lots of bids as you will not have any chance, look out for those properties which have 1 or zero bids and yes they do come up.

    you might think those with no bids are crap but believe me you will be surprised how reasonable they can be so look out for those properties with less then a few to no bids on them.

    second the trouble with private properties is like you said many won't take benefits and also lots want a guarantor which can be difficult to get when on benefits but if you check with your council you will find that there are a few estate agents working with them and it is these that don't want any guarantor as long as you can raise the money such as bonds and other terms. as for raising bonds, some councils will help with this so do look in to it.

    third register with as many housing associations as possible in the areas you want as they don't work the same way as councils when finding places for people, make sure when you register to aim for as many points as possible.

    by following the above you will then open up your options, still don't expect to get something straight away, it took us a long time to get our property but we stuck it out and secured one.

    hoping here that you do find something eventually

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