1. ITV Report

PART THREE: We expose the dire shortage of rental properties suitable for disabled people

DISABLED AND HOMELESS: The next part of our special investigation into housing in the North West. Photo: ITV Granada Reports

Councillor Tracy Kelly, Lead Member for Housing and Communities at Salford City Council, said:

We are extremely sympathetic towards the situation of all homeless families and we are working closely with this family who need a real home. We do not publically comment on our residents’ personal circumstances but we can explain the process we follow.

“When families present themselves to the council we place them in the most appropriate accommodation that is available. The council now only has a very limited amount of housing stock in Pendleton. This is, predominantly, in high rise buildings which is often not suitable for people with certain disabilities or for larger households. Other stock that people think of traditionally as council homes are owned by housing associations which, whilst committed to working with us towards housing solutions, are independent from the council.

“If a family is placed in temporary accommodation we will make it a priority to find suitable long-term accommodation that meets the need of their specific circumstances as quickly as possible. They are not given a timescale to stay in temporary accommodation, they can stay until a suitable property is found. We take into consideration the size of property, any disability access needs and other specific adaptations that would be required. All families are assigned a dedicated support worker who visits regularly and explores options to alleviate any difficulties as best we can.

“It can be very difficult to convert properties for use. They may not be suitable for the upgrades required for wheelchair or lift access.

“We know this is not ideal and that the solution is a suitable home as quickly as possible. The plight of families in temporary accommodation shines a spotlight on the national crisis in housing supply. There are currently 6,867 households on our housing register. 1,366 of these households have some form of medical need and 157 are permanent wheelchair users who need adapted accommodation suitable for their specific need. We are prioritising the resources we have available to help those who need it most but we have faced massive budget cuts of nearly £200 million since 2010. At the same time demand for affordable housing is so high that 28 people are bidding for every home that become available in our city.

“To tackle the issue we have started out own housing company, Dérive, to develop 900 new affordable homes on social rents in the next three years.”

– Councillor Tracy Kelly

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