Wandsworth town hall chiefs say sorry for missing deadline to house family-of-three by a month

A South London council has had to fork out £200 and apologise to a homeless mum and dad after not placing them in suitable housing.

Mr X lived at his parent’s house with his wife and child but in June 2020 they left and were made homeless, an Ombudsman report revealed.

The dad said the situation at his parents’ house was adversely affecting his wife and child.

Mr X asked Wandsworth Council for help with accommodation and told the authority he had a medical condition so needed to be put on the ground floor of a building.

He told the council he ideally needed accommodation with “minimum stairs”.

The council’s medical advisor (CMA) recommended accommodation up to and including the second floor if “unlifted” (properties without a lift) and on the fifth floor and above if “lifted” (properties with a lift).

On July 22, 2020, Wandsworth Council wrote to Mr X with an offer of temporary accommodation on the eighth floor of a 12-storey building. The council said the building had a lift.

Mr X said he could not accept a property above ground floor and that living in the property would have a big impact on his physical and mental health.

On August 10, 2020, the CMA replied and recommended ground floor accommodation or “lifted”. It said a “few [interior/exterior] stairs would seem reasonable”.

The council notified Mr X of its main housing duty decision 30 working days after 56 days had passed, almost twice as long as the recommended time frame.

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman said: “The council has agreed to take the following action within one month of the final decision: provide an apology to Mr X, make a payment of £200 to Mr X  in recognition of the stress and uncertainty caused by the delay in offering the main housing duty and explaining the CMA’s recommendations.”

Wandsworth Council said: “The Ombudsman has found that in many respects the housing support offered to this resident was wholly appropriate and that his medical records were correctly and properly taken into consideration – and also that suitable temporary accommodation was offered which was unfortunately rejected by the resident.

“There were some delays in processing his application after that mainly due to the impact of Covid on staff resources and also because the focus at that time was arranging accommodation for homeless rough sleepers during lockdown and as a consequence of those delays we have agreed to pay compensation of £200.”



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