Published: 10:00, 11 September 2017 |
Updated: 21:25, 11 September 2017
A family cursed with debilitating health problems say they feel the only way the council will rehome them is if one of them has a baby.
Lucy Eve, 34, lives with her cancer sufferer mum Theresa, 70 and autistic sister Amy, 27, in what they describe as a “damp infested” two-bedroom first-floor flat in Park Street, Dover.
They have been battling the council’s points system for five years to be rehoused somewhere without stairs, but with Theresa’s condition worsening, they now feel suicidal.
Lucy, who is bipolar, lives in constant pain after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago.
She told KentOnline she doesn’t want a baby but feels it is the only way to get her family out of this situation.
Lucy said: “We’ve tried everywhere. It took us six months to get on the list.
“They [the council] are palming us off and in the meantime we have to live like this. It’s not an exaggeration, we feel suicidal, trapped and there’s no way of getting out.
“I’ve got enough to worry about what with looking after my mum and sister.
“I don’t want a child but basically if I had one, we’d get a different house.”
Theresa has spinal cancer, emphysema, arthritis and depression and Amy has autism and epilepsy.
Theresa was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, shortly after the family moved into the flat.
The disease has now reached her spine and she relies on a walking stick and sometimes a wheelchair.
As a consequence, she struggles with the stairs up to the flat.
To make matters worse, she has disturbed sleep because she shares a bedroom with Amy, while Lucy sleeps on the sofa because her bedroom is so damp-infested.
Despite all their health complaints, they are only graded a Band C.
“I don’t want a child but basically if I had one, we’d get a different house” - Lucy Eve
They look every day for a three-bedroom house without stairs and bid at least twice a month, yet feel their needs are always overlooked by others, especially those with children.
Theresa said: “I don’t know what else you need to have wrong to be entitled to a better quality of life.
“I would have thought that everything we have wrong with us would be adequate for us to be an A or B grade.”
Lucy said the family have come close to being rehoused on two occasions but have applied dozens of times.
She said: “It’s a very small first-floor flat. It’s not suitable for three adults.
“We’ve had somebody from the council come round and look at the damp but they just say keep painting over it.
“We’re not physically or financially able to do that.
“We apply for more small places just because they don’t have stairs.
The big places are always given to families with small children.
“Some just get withdrawn without any explanation.”
The family also feel that Amy, who has the mental age of a five-year-old, needs her own room.
Lucy said: “She requires her own bedroom because she’s obsessive compulsive. She’s up all night.
“Really she needs a garden because she’s technically a child.”
The family accept they are not the only ones living in unsuitable accommodation in Dover.
Lucy said: “All the council keep saying is keep applying or advertise for an exchange but the flat is shabby because we can’t keep it up. We’re happy to move anywhere in the district.”
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said: “I urge Theresa, Lucy and Amy to contact my office. I will do the best I can to help them.”
A Dover District Council (DDC) spokesman said: “DDC continues to work hard to provide help and support to people with housing issues.
“Social housing is allocated in accordance with a published allocations policy, and applicants bid for homes that become available for letting.
“Housing applicants are placed in bands which reflect their assessed housing need.
“Priority within each band is based on the date of application, and priority within the band does increase the longer people have been waiting.
“Applicants in higher priority bands stand the greatest chance of successfully bidding for properties. If people have housing issues, they should contact the council’s housing team on 01304 872265.”
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