Pair with dis­abled teen in three-year wait for home

Cou­ple plead for coun­cil to re­lo­cate them

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

A HILLING­DON cou­ple have pleaded with the au­thor­i­ties to re­lo­cate them af­ter spend­ing three years wait­ing for a new home while car­ing for an 18-year-old with se­vere dis­abil­i­ties.

Sarah Knight and her part­ner Dean El­liott live in their three-bed house with three chil­dren, and with Sarah’s sis­ter, who suf­fers from se­vere learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity.

The cou­ple said Sarah’s sis­ter came to live with them and they ex­pected to wait 18 months be­fore they could be moved into a four-bed home more suit­able for some­one with dis­abil­i­ties.

Three years later and the fam­ily still live in their Vic­to­ria Av­enue home and say the strug­gle has put a strain on their re­la­tion­ship.

Dean, 37, told the Gazette: “It’s just not suit­able for her. It’s un­safe.

“She’s 18 now and she doesn’t have any space to her­self. She’s been failed on ev­ery level.

“All we want for her is a space she’s able to be safe in to progress.”

Sarah’s sis­ter has epilepsy, sleep­ing prob­lems and se­vere learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

She also strug­gles with her bal­ance, and the cou­ple fear for her safety as the only bath­room is up­stairs.

Hilling­don Coun­cil of­fered Sarah and Dean two prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing a home in West Dray­ton with two flights of stairs, but the cou­ple turned them down.

Sarah said the homes of­fered would have been worse than their cur­rent ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The 35-year-old, who cares for her sis­ter full time, said: “It’s a mat­ter of time be­fore me or her break our necks.

“We can’t live in this prop­erty any longer. It’s such hard work.”

The cou­ple have a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old and a five-year-old, and say their sit­u­a­tion is stress­ful for the whole fam­ily.

Sarah and Dean are in the high­est pri­or­ity bracket for a new home in the Lo­cata sys­tem used by Hilling­don Coun­cil.

A spokesman for Hilling­don Coun­cil said: “The coun­cil has in­vited Ms Knight to bid for more suit­able so­cial rented prop­er­ties as they be­come avail­able, how­ever there is a high de­mand for larger, fam­ily-sized so­cial rented homes in Hilling­don.

“The lo­cal author­ity has there­fore ad­vised Ms Knight to con­sider all hous­ing op­tions open to her and she has been of­fered sup­port to se­cure suit­able, al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion in the pri­vate rented sec­tor.

“Hilling­don Coun­cil con­tin­ues to help many fam­i­lies to suc­cess­fully re­solve their hous­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in this way.”

STRAIN: Sarah Knight and Dean El­liott

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