Housing needs not being met, says OAP

AN ELDERLY man, suffering a litany of health complaints, is struggling to get the home improvements he needs to live independently.

Arthur Jackson, 69, is wheelchair bound and suffers from multiple sclerosis, diabetes, kidney failure and heart problems, which severely restricts his mobility at his Little Steeping home.

A social services assessment identified a number of household alterations including lowered showers and widened doorways which could enable him to live more independently at home.

He has accused the local authorities and his housing association of being unsympathetic to his needs and slow to carry out the improvements he desperately wants.

He said: “I feel that East Lindsey District Council and New Linx Housing Trust couldn’t care less about elderly, disabled and vulnerable people.

“I’m living with multiple health conditions that are only going to get worse, so why should they put me through the rigmarole of being reassessed?

“My life since I came here has been nothing but hell.”

When Mr Jackson’s assessment was first carried out in September 2010 he applied for a disability facilities grant from ELDC, which would be used to carry out the works on his New Linx home.

Although the application was successful, New Linx understood that Mr Jackson wanted to move to alternative accommodation and therefore felt the works were unnecessary in his current home.

However Mr Jackson found the alternative accommodation he was offered to be equally unsuitable and decided he would be better off staying put with the alterations recommended by social services.

Now he has found that he needs to be reassessed by social services and re-apply for the disability facilities grant, which he fears will only prolong his misery.

Support officer at the Skegness branch of the MS Society Sylvia Griffin said that the improvements achieved with disability facilities grants are important for the comfort and safety of MS sufferers but that many have to wait between nine and 12 months for the works to be completed.

Director of operations at New Linx Jack Whyman said the housing association would be happy to help Mr Jackson get the alterations he wants but admitted the process can take time due to the system through which people apply for the grants.

Although the grant is provided by ELDC the social services report recommending the works to be carried out falls under Lincolnshire county Council’s responsibility.

Mr Whyman said that it may be easier to progress applications and under a one tier local authority where it could all be dealt with under one roof.

However A spokesperson for ELDC felt the system was fine as it was and explained that £1.4 million had been spent on disability facilities grants to provide 202 disabled people with improvements in the past year.

That sum of money is claimed to be more than the figure spent by every other district council in Lincolnshire combined.