Disabled couple’s housing struggle

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 October 2015

Louisa and Graham Thomas preparing to leave their home of eight years.

Louisa and Graham Thomas preparing to leave their home of eight years.

Archant

A DISABLED couple who have been unable to find somewhere to live in Weston-super-Mare after being served notice on their home of eight years are facing weeks, or even months, in ‘unsuitable’ temporary accommodation.

Graham and Louisa Thomas had lived in their ground-floor flat in Hill View Court for eight years, but were forced to look for a new place to live when their landlord decided to move back in.

Graham, aged 39, suffers from spina bifida and Louisa, aged 39, has epilepsy, which means they need a house adapted for Graham’s needs which has enough room for him to be able to help Louisa should she begin fitting.

But the couple have been unable to find an affordable adapted property privately, or a landlord who will allow them to make adaptations with grant funding, and so began the process of bidding for a property through North Somerset Council’s website.

Louisa said: “It’s not easy for anybody to find a property, but especially because my husband is disabled.

“We will bid on one property on Thursday, which is the day they come out, and we will be fourth in the queue, but come the following Thursday we will be 65th.”

Graham said: “It’s happening all the time. There are a lot of people in the same position and there are a lot of people on the streets.”

Weston’s Labour leader Tim Taylor has been trying to help the couple and said: “Graham and Louisa’s case illustrates the difficulties disabled people can still have in finding a place to live.

“I have been trying to help them find suitable accommodation, but have been struck by the limited help they have had.”

The couple will move into temporary accommodation provided by the council on Monday but Louisa said it is not suitable.

She said: “There’s not much room to move around. When my husband goes to the bathroom he will not be able to shut the door. He will have no dignity.”

The property has a walk-in shower but its kitchen is not adapted, meaning Graham will be unable to reach its surfaces.

A council spokesman said officers are trying to resolve the ‘urgent’ issue, and said: “The couple will need a wheelchair accessible property and are currently bidding for ground floor, social housing properties due to the urgent nature of their situation.

“All options are being considered and our housing team will continue to work closely with them to try to resolve this difficult situation.”

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