Plea to Calderdale leaders to find severely disabled man a suitable home

Calderdale Council leader Coun Tim Swift
Calderdale Council leader Coun Tim Swift

Councillors in Calderdale have been urged to intervene to help a disabled man get a suitable home.

The issue was raised at public question time before Calderdale Council’s Cabinet pitched into their agenda items by Calderdale resident Mr Ian Wood on behalf of a man who lives at the White Windows care home at Sowerby Bridge at the moment.

Mr Wood said the man, who was also present and referred to as Mr K, was severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair with no prospect of any improvement to his health.

To reflect the seriousness of his problem he had been given gold banding in the Keychoice social housing scheme operated in partnership between the council and Together Housing.

It cost around £1,100 per week to keep Mr K in care.

He could lead an independent life but was now on his second Keychoice bid for a property with no guarantee of success.

Mr Wood asked Cabinet chair and leader of the council, Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) if the council would use powers it had under the scheme to “direct let” Mr K a property.

“His social worker has said that he could live an independent life in a suitable property.

“His rent would be paid by housing benefit and the council would receive this rent back in the form of subsidy via the Government.

“Mr K is now on his second bid through Keychoice on a suitable property – however, nobody with Housing Options and other departments involved are aware of direct lettings by the council,” said Mr Wood.

“Mr K is in dire need of a suitable property but all he is told by staff is that he has to bid…and although his is either number one, two or three in the queue he may not be offered the property.”

He said Keychoice allowed for a direct let in certain situations and in his view Mr K fitted that criteria.

According to Keychoice’s documentation “homes that are suitable for adaption for an identified member with a disability and it has not been possible to identify an existing suitably adapted property” can be direct let, he said.

This can mean the council asking the relevant social landlord to make direct offer of a property without it being advertised, reiterated in document reviews.

“Mr K has been informed that the property he is still trying to get would be perfect for him, as it has two bedrooms and would allow, when necessary, his carer to stay overnight,” he said.

Coun Swift said there were two issues, of general policy and the individual case. He said a written response would be sent regarding general policy and asked for details to be emailed about the specific case – there were two senior officers present at the Cabinet meeting to ensure it would be followed up.