Concerned about housing provision

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I am concerned to hear ADC has decided to reduce new housing provision.

Let me tell you a story.

I am an independent-living disabled 38 year old.

I was on the housing register for years and was band C, but four years ago my condition relapsed, meaning I needed a walking frame rather than a walking stick.

I was re-banded to band B as social services assessed my private rented flat seriously unsuitable and dangerous for my worsened condition.

There were steps to get to my flat, it was too small to even get the walker through the door, let alone be used in the flat, and the shower/wc room a non-disabled person would find ‘bijou’.

My requirement was for a flat-access property, wide doors for walking frame with a fully-disabled accessible bathroom.

Even at band B, and Arun agreeing I was one of the few ‘exceptions’ who was eligible to bid for age-restricted property so young, and my bidding on anything suitable, even where that meant sheltered housing, I was not short-listed until December, a full year since my re-banding to ‘high priority’.

Where do I live now?

In a ground-floor, fully-accessible, housing association flat on Bersted Park and I love it.

It meets all my needs, but is also part of a regular community of houses, so even on my housebound days I can watch the life outside the window.

And if the local children haven’t seen me for a day or so they’ll knock on my door, ask if they can water my patio plants or do my recycling and chat away.

In short, I’m part of a community.

Bersted Park is on site six.

Remember the protests?

The high court?

The court of appeal?

Yes, developers are in the business of making money, but they can’t do that without also making affordable housing.

I have the only one-bed, ground-floor, accessible flat for which I very grateful.

But how many other folk are in the situation I was? I suspect a lot.

How many families are crammed into so few rooms some members have to sleep on the sofa or floor? I suspect a lot.

Have any of the Arun councillors, or their children or grandchildren had to go cap in hand begging to be housed because they were too ill or too poor to even dream of getting a mortgage for a suitable place?

It’s humiliating – but your only option.

Yes, it is important to know what the house-owning neighbours think, and how the infrastructure will cope, but many of the people who need social housing find forms and surveys too difficult – they need to be consulted too, just in different ways.

Michelle White,

Bersted Park