An older couple with disabilities forced to live apart in temporary accommodation

  • A Local Government Ombudsman investigation has found that an elderly couple with disabilities had been forced to live separately in temporary accommodation that is unsuitable by a London borough. Irma Wants Some Coffee

    Due to forcing a woman in her late 70s and her husband, who is in his 80s, to live apart, Newham Council has been ordered to pay the elderly couple £750.

    After being made homeless by their landlord, the couple had been living with their son and his family in the east London borough. After approaching the council as a family, they were told the only temporary accommodation that was immediately available in Birmingham, reports Inside Housing.

    Due to the couple having severe mobility problems the couple refused the offer and the family split up and stayed with relatives in east London. When temporary accommodation was found in a neighbouring borough the husband was unable to access the property due to its stairs. The flat also had now shower, which was unsuitable for the woman and her mobility needs.

    It took the council ten weeks to find more suitable accommodation and ended up being threatened with legal action by the family.

    Dr Jane Martin, Local Government ombudsman, said: "This family was given a Hobson's choice when it came to accepting the accommodation they were offered. They had the choice of something unsuitable or nothing at all. While I appreciate the difficult circumstances some councils find themselves in with the lack of availability of emergency accommodation, authorities do need to make sure that the accommodation they offer to people is suitable for their needs."

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