Is Weston-super-Mare’s housing system ‘a mess’? Many complain of cramped homes while others beg to be downsized

PUBLISHED: 13:24 03 April 2017

People say they have 'given up hope' on North Somerset Council's housing system.

People say they have 'given up hope' on North Somerset Council's housing system.

Steve Lovegrove

People say they have ‘given up’ on North Somerset Council’s ‘useless’ housing system, which has left some with no choice but to share a bed with their kids while others are begging to be downsized.

But, while some complain of unsuitable housing, more than 3,000 people remain on the authority’s waiting list for any accommodation at all – with 106 of those people registered as homeless.

At the end of last year, 3,280 people were on the council’s waiting list for housing – 1,254 fewer than in 2013. But in 2016 the council housed 250 fewer people than in 2013.

Across North Somerset, 145 people have also requested to downsize their homes.

Angie Goodliffe is one person who lives in a two-bedroom house she ‘doesn’t want’. She said: “I’m stuck here in a family home I don’t want, trying to get out. How does this make any sense when there are families waiting for houses and I’m waiting to downsize?”

More than 3,000 people are waiting for housing in North Somerset.More than 3,000 people are waiting for housing in North Somerset.

Meanwhile Mandie Mallaney is in desperate need of a bigger house. She said: “I’m in a two-bedroom house with a teenage son, a teenage daughter and two young boys.

“It’s a nightmare. We split our front room in half to make an extra room, but we are sharing our bed with my four-year-old.

“I’ve given up hope, to be honest.”

A council spokesman said many people are choosing to remain in less-suitable social accommodation rather than face the increasing cost of a private rental, causing fewer homes to be available.

Kayleigh Culliven also spoke to the Mercury, as her and her six-year-old child are having to stay with a friend while they wait to be given a place to live.

She said: “(The system is) absolutely useless. I am unable to work at the moment, but I would still need to find more than £1,000 to get my own place.”

The council spokesman added: “There had been a big push on moving applicants who were under-occupying social housing to free up those larger properties for families. There has been a decrease in this type of housing move, as tenants are now suitably housed in terms of their family composition.”

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