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Housing problem

KazbKazb Posts: 3Member
Hi I have a 19yr old son with Down syndrome, me my son and partner live in a two bedroomed council house, I am expecting a baby so we need more room, here comes the tough part, I wanted to apply for a disabled facility's grant to put a bedroom on the back of the house for my disabled son, but the council have said no as he is not in a wheelchair, they want to move us, but as I keep trying to explain and nobody is listening, my son would be very distressed if we had to move from his home as he calls it, he does not cope well with change and it would really upset him, last time we moved it took him five yrs to get over the stress of moving and wanting to go back to his home, I just don't know what to do, are there any other charity's we could go to where they could help us to stay where we are so my son does not get distressed. Any help you could give us would be very appreciated
Thanks Karen

Replies

  • ScopeHelplineScopeHelpline Posts: 210Member Courageous
    Hi Kazb,
    Thanks for your question. We will look into this for you and get back to you tomorrow.
    Kind regards
    Scope helpline
  • ScopeHelplineScopeHelpline Posts: 210Member Courageous
    Hi Kazb,

    Mandatory DFGs are available from local authorities in England and Wales and the Housing Executive in Northern Ireland, subject to a means test (except for families with a disabled child/children under the age of 18) for essential adaptations to give disabled people better freedom of movement into and around their homes and to give access to essential facilities within the home. The legislation governing DFGs in England and Wales is the 1996 Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act. Discretionary DFGs were abolished with effect from July 2003.

    The types of work that mandatory DFGs can cover includes:

    • making it easier to get into and out of the dwelling by, for example, widening doors and installing ramps;
    • ensuring the safety of the disabled person and other occupants by, for example, providing a specially adapted room in which it would be safe to leave a disabled person unattended or improved lighting to ensure better visibility;
    • making access easier to the living room;
    • providing or improving access to the bedroom, and kitchen toilet, washbasin and bath (and/or shower) facilities; for example, by installing a stair lift or providing a downstairs bathroom;
    • improving or providing a heating system in the home which is suitable to the needs of the disabled person;
    • adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use; and
    • improving access and movement around the home to enable the disabled person to care for another person who lives in the property, such as a spouse, child or another person for whom the disabled person cares.

    On 22 May 2008 access to a garden was brought within the scope of a DFG where the work will facilitate access to and from a garden by a disabled occupant or make access to a garden safe for a disabled occupant.

    Before issuing a DFG a local housing authority must satisfy itself that the works are necessary and appropriate to meet the needs of the disabled person and are reasonable and practicable depending on the age and condition of the property. In reaching a decision the authority will consider the following factors:
    whether the proposed adaptations or improvements:

    • are needed to provide for a care plan to be implemented which will enable the disabled occupant to remain living in their existing home as independently as possible;
    • would meet, as far as possible, the assessed needs of the disabled person taking into account both their medical and physical needs; and
    • distinguish between what is desirable and possible legitimate aspirations of the disabled person, and what is actually needed and for which grant support is fully justified

    In your case, your circumstances are that you are extending your family and you need extra room to accommodate your new baby. This is not something that would be covered with a mandatory disabled facilities grant and as mentioned above, discretionary grants were abolished in 2003. The council have quite rightly offered a move to a larger property and while this is not ideal for your son and his emotional state, you may not have any other option.

    You could try searching the grants database on the turn2 us website www.turn2us.org.uk to see if you can find a charitable organisation/s that can help you with your funding requirements but I think it would be difficult to find the funding you need particularly if your council wants to rehouse you. You would also need to know if the property itself would be suitable for an extension and you would need to seek planning permission from your council. There is no guarantee that they would grant this. You could end up spending a significant amount of time trying to raise funds for the extension only to find out that you can’t get permission to build.
    It would be worth considering what your council is offering in the way of rehousing and including your son in the process so that he is able to see the positives of moving to a new home. For example he could choose how he wants to decorate his new bedroom in the new property and enjoy making his room his own, he may even want to help with designing the new baby’s room or make plans for the garden.
    I know that this is probably not the answer you are looking for but realistically I think it will be extremely difficult to persuade your council to carry out the adaptations you require.
    I hope that this information helps. If you would like to talk some more please get in touch.

    Best wishes
    Scope helpline


  • KazbKazb Posts: 3Member
    Hi thank you for your information, but sadly I know everything that you have pointed out, I know about planning and checking to see if we can have an extension put on to the property, like I pointed out before it's my son that has the mental disability and lack of understanding, and pointing out that he could pick a colour scheme and make the room his own would be fantastic, but it does not work that way with special needs mentally disabled people they generally see the home there in as there home and don't like change. So sadly we will have to stay in the house we are in and struggle.

    Have a lovely day
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