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Man delays life-saving surgery due to council housing delay
11:20am Tuesday 9th October 2012 in News
A man waiting for life-saving surgery has been told he must wait until he is officially homeless before a council will find him a new home.
Alan Burton, 47, of Crescent Road, Brighton, first applied for new council accommodation in October last year when the owner of the private home he rented told him he would be selling it.
Now, with the property sold and the owners scheduled to move in four weeks time, Mr Burton is desperately looking for somewhere else to live.
During the wait, he has delayed a triple heart bypass three times due to fears about where he would be living when he will come out of hospital.
Brighton and Hove City Council has told him to remain in the house until the new owner is ready to move in as he will then become eligible for emergency temporary housing.
Households requiring “emergency” housing are waiting up to two years before a suitable property is found. The council has more than 14,000 people on its waiting list.
Mr Burton, who is in the council’s Band B priority for those with major medical needs, said: “I just don’t know where to turn. The council needs showing up on this.
“Some families in Band C – those with minor medical needs – have been waiting since 2005.
“All they keep on telling me is to wait in the home until the new owners are ready to move in. Then I’ll be classified as homeless so the council said it can put me in temporary accommodation.
“That was the last straw. I’ve been having sleepless nights and I just can’t take it any more. I’m not trying to jump the queue. How am I supposed to go in for lifesaving surgery and come back out to temporary accommodation?”
Information in the council’s latest Homemove magazine shows that people in Band A – the council’s ‘emergency’ category – waited on average two years before securing a one-bedroom flat.
The same publication shows in the last month there have been more than 450 people in the top band bidding for properties.
A council spokesman said: “We are sympathetic to residents with housing problems and assure them that we provide a fair and transparent allocation of our homes but the fact is that demand massively outstrips supply.
“We have around 12,000 homes and approximately 14,000 households on the housing register with only around 800 properties in the city becoming vacant and available for letting each year.
“People on the register choose which properties to bid on and so it is quite possible that people have been on the register since 2005 if they are waiting for a particular type of property or their assessed housing needs are very low.”