A previously homeless, disabled woman was left in unsuitable accommodation by the council.
As reported by The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website, a woman was given a temporary accommodation after experiencing homelessness and sleeping in an airport. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea provided the disabled woman with an unsuitable, temporary fourth floor accommodation, despite her solicitor and GP supplying the council with knowledge of her medical conditions.
The woman was diagnosed with tinnitus and arthritis after she had a stroke. This left her with dizziness and chronic balance problems. She struggled to climb the stairs and had experienced falls. She was given an ultimatum by the council, to either accept the accommodation she has been given or become homeless once again. She struggled to access her accommodation daily and was left to fend for herself in the property for 14 months, which was detrimental to her health. This put a strain on her mental health as she struggled with anxiety due to her situation.
The council took 20 weeks to review its decision, even though it should have taken only 8 weeks. The Ombudsman, who investigate complaints independently and impartially, examined the matter. Their investigation has led to a report being published, in which they have condemn the council’s decision. In their opinion, the council focused too much on woman’s homelessness, rather than also taking into consideration her conditions and mobility needs.
Per Ombudsman’s recommendations, the council should provide an apology to the victim written by a senior officer, pay £3,500 in compensation for the hardship she experienced during her 14 months stay and improve their service for homeless applications. That is on top of some of the additional constructive suggestions regarding their suitability of accommodation assessment form, briefing note for officers of duty and the process for dealing with homelessness reviews.
Reflecting on the case, we believe the Ombudsman’s are correct in recommending the financial compensation for the victim, due to the trauma she has experienced and the council negligence in their duty of care. The unreasonable delay in her initial accommodation decision and further disregard for her during the review is unacceptable. We also agree that the council would benefit in improving their service, to avoid any errors in action.
We advise that people seek help when dealing with similar circumstances, as it is hard to be on your own in such a situation. Therefore, we offer free consultations to our clients. We operate on a no win no fee agreement, which allows you to make a claim without paying any solicitors’ fees upfront. We only receive payment when your compensation claim is successful, leaving you at no financial risk.
To discuss your possible claim contact our team on 0151 306 3694.