We assisted a client, as part of our Women’s Project, with a number of issues but this case study relates to her homelessness case file. The assistance GLC gave in facilitating her transfer from one local authority area to another, and comments on the ‘one reasonable offer’ of permanent accommodation. Our client approached GLC as she wanted to be resettled closer to her family and support networks in a different local authority area. She was in temporary accommodation at the time and we were able to contact the local authority and advocate on her behalf in respect of the transfer.
To assist with this, we outlined the reasons why she should be understood as having a local connection, pursuant to section 27 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. Not only did she have a local family support network in the area, but she was also in discussion with her previous employer about returning to work in that area. We note that this client was a single parent responsible for the care of three young children, one of whom would be classed as having a disability as understood by section 6 of the Equality Act 2010.
Our client also had experiences of gender-based violence and a long history of traumatic life events impacting her mental health, and could therefore also be understood as having a disability under the 2010 Act. Following our input, the transition to the new local authority area was relatively smooth with a positive decision made.
However, unfortunately, shortly thereafter our client contacted us extremely distressed as, although she had been made an offer of permanent accommodation in the new local authority area, she explained that the offer did not take into consideration her and her family’s health and support needs. For example, medical letters of support previously obtained by GLC outlined the need for private outdoor space to meet her child’s disability needs.
However, when our client attended the property she was concerned by the general waste present in the communal garden area, and noted that it was not secure which posed a risk to her child’s health as he had no hazard perception awareness. She noted, generally, that the property failed to meet her family’s disability needs in terms of noise pollution and condition. Furthermore, the location of the property was at a considerable distance from her family network and did not therefore take into account her specific support needs.
Our client initially accepted the offer of accommodation as she misread the offer letter as providing only one offer. We explained that the offer should be a reasonable one, and consideration should be made to the above factors, including location and needs arising from having a disability. Our client instructed us to appeal the decision following the advice she was given on her options, and we subsequently lodged this with the local authority.
The appeal was successful, with the original offer withdrawn, and a new offer agreed to be made. Within a few weeks, our client contacted us to advise that a further offer had been made for a semi-detached property, with a private garden, and within five minutes’ walking distance from her family home. Our client was content with the outcome, and was happy to accept this offer of permanent accommodation.