'There's only so many rejections a person can take' - housing crisis in the South West

As many as 1.5 million people in the West Country are affected by the housing emergency, according to a report published by Shelter.

The charity says discrimination in the housing sector is rife - with race, disability, sexuality and socio-economic status all barriers to securing a safe home to live in.

For example, the report says people from an ethnic minority background are 70% more likely to be impacted than people who are white.

A few years ago, Tamatha-Ann Lovett from Bristol, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

She could no longer work full-time and had to start claiming some benefits. Tamatha-Ann was forced to move into substandard accommodation where she felt "very unsafe".

Tamatha-Ann Lovett applied for 28 properties and only got two viewings. She was rejected from both. Credit: ITV News West Country

She tried to find a new place to live but found her medical history was a significant barrier.

She told ITV News West Country she was rejected by 28 landlords and estate agents due to her medical history and the fact claiming some financial support.

She says: "On paper, we're not deemed responsible enough to look after ourselves. We're othered a lot, marginalised.

"There aren't very many options and you're left sacrificing. As as disabled person, I've made allowances where I shouldn't have.

"There's only so many rejections a person can take".

Shelter says the pandemic has worsened the experience of many looking to rent or buy a property.

What is Shelter's solution?

Shelter says the lack of regulation means private renters have to navigate sky-high rents, poor conditions and threat of unfair evictions.

It says these problems are compounded by a welfare system which, according to the charity, fails to properly support people when they are struggling.

The charity says "we must demand better conditions, fight racism and discrimination, end unfair evictions and reform housing benefit."

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