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Wheelchair-bound Bierley couple 'prisoners in one room of home'
7:00am Monday 16th September 2013 in News
A wheelchair-bound couple are being forced to live in a single downstairs room in their three-bedroom home.
Rose Pearson, 67, and her partner John Keeley, 54, are unable to use the upstairs floors of their home in Ferrand Avenue, Bierley, and had hoped to add a ground-floor bedroom and wetroom.
But they have been told by their social housing landlord Incommunities that the adaptations are not viable at the property.
Miss Pearson, who suffers osteoporosis and arthritis, has been disabled for more than a year.
Mr Keeley was left paralysed from the waist down after he suffered a brain haemorrhage four years ago.
They have been forced to turn their sitting room into a makeshift bedroom, with a hospital bed, another bed and a commode.
Miss Pearson said: “We have carers that come in, but we have to wash in front of each other which isn’t very nice really. We have to eat, sleep and wash all in one room – it’s disgusting.
“It’s getting to the point where I feel like a prisoner in my own home. The wheelchair bangs against the doors because they aren’t wide enough and I’ve been experiencing panic attacks.”
A spokesman for Incommunities said it had added a wheelchair ramp at the house to help the couple but felt it was not viable to carry out the further works the couple had requested and its housing officers were now working with them to look for more suitable adapted accommodation.
“We are committed to meeting the housing needs of all our customers and are working with this family to best meet their needs,” the spokesman said.
But Miss Pearson said: “I don’t want to move. I’ve been in this house for 28 years, my son lives up the road and I have friends and neighbours.”
Sue Whelan, project co-ordinator for Bradford Disability Services, said it was “terrible” that some disabled people were being forced to move because of a change in their circumstances.
“We are aware that some housing authorities have their own budgets and many disabled people are offered other accommodation,” she said.
“It is terrible some disabled people don’t have any other choice but to move. We would always encourage social housing landlords to consider circumstances before making their decisions”
Earlier this month the Telegraph & Argus reported that Bradford Council was facing a funding shortfall to pay for Disabled Facilities Grants as Incommunities had reduced its annual contribution from £500,000 to £250,000 after a ten-year agreement ended in March.
Incommunities has defended its decision by saying it is still paying much more than other housing associations in the area.
The Council says that it and Incommunities have now agreed to work together to seek a joint resolution to the issue.