A disabled Aberdeen man claims he has been left stuck in a home he is barely able to leave for years while waiting on a new council flat.
Shelter Scotland activist Perry claims he requested a transfer to a ground floor home after suffering a brain injury which has left him with mobility issues in 2018.
And yet, he still awaits a new flat without a doorstep or long flight of stairs – ideally in a quiet area required due to his condition.
Stairs deterrent: ‘I only go out three or four times a month’
The charity has today published new figures, showing more than one in three adults are affected by what it claims is a national “housing emergency”.
Pollsters YouGov estimate 1.5 million people – more than a third of Scotland’s adult population – are struggling with the condition, security, suitability, or affordability of their home, or have been discriminated against while trying to find it.
In Aberdeen, Perry, 57, said his living situation is restricting his freedom.
He added: “Because of my problems with the stairs I only go out three or four times a month.
“I’ve weakness in my legs and sometimes when I go to the stairs I think I just can’t do this and I can’t go out.
“I’m worried I will fall or I won’t be able to get back in.
“When I do use the stairs I’m holding on tight.”
Perry says his struggles don’t end at the doorstep either – with simple tasks, such as bringing shopping into his home after deliveries taking as long as two days due to the stairs.
“Finding a home that’s on the ground floor that I can manage will mean a lot,” he said.
“It’ll mean a better quality of life. I will be less isolated.
“If I don’t have to negotiate stairs I can use that energy to go for a walk round the block, enjoy the sun.
“It might seem like a little thing but just getting fresh air will make a big difference.”
It is understood Perry has been offered a move but only to equally unsuitable properties.
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “We recognise the close working relationship we have with Shelter Aberdeen, unfortunately however we have not had any discussions regarding this specific matter.
“Whilst it would not be appropriate to discuss any individual’s circumstances it is important to note that some customers can provide us with very specific criteria in terms of area and housing type, and whilst reasonable offers can be made and at times declined by customers, it can mean a lengthy wait for accommodation due to our stock availability.
“We would encourage the tenant to contact us in order to discuss his situation further or alternatively request Shelter Aberdeen to work with us on his behalf where we can proactively work together on an appropriate solution.”
Last night, it emerged the local authority’s housing staff have voted to strike next month, over increased workloads and “mounting pressure”.
Scotland’s housing system ‘broken and biased’, claims charity boss
The research, carried out on behalf of Shelter Scotland, shows around 400,000 children are also living in unsafe or insecure housing.
Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “Scotland’s housing system is broken and biased. It is failing people. Hundreds of thousands of people are being held back by the lack of a proper home that would support them to flourish.
“You don’t have to be living on the streets to be severely impacted by the housing emergency.
“Hundreds of thousands are putting up with the unacceptable, counting their blessings that it’s not worse.
“We have to stand up and demand better for everyone.”
The charity said around 3% of those polled – representing around 130,000 adults in Scotland – who agreed they had experienced discrimination when trying to find their current home were almost three times as likely to be struggling with issues such as overcrowding, poor conditions, insecurity or affordability.
The biggest issue flagged was keeping warm, with 17% of the 2,060 respondents – representative of around 753,000 adults in Scotland – indicating troubles heating their homes during the winter.
In response to the research, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “We want everyone to have a home that is warm, safe and affordable and the actions in our long term strategy Housing to 2040 sets out how we will achieve that.
“Creating a home requires more than bricks and mortar which is why we have committed to realising the right to adequate housing and as part of that, we will undertake a comprehensive audit of our current housing and homelessness legislation to ensure that it meets the needs of everyone including those who have faced barriers to housing.
“Scotland has led the way across the UK with almost 100,000 affordable homes delivered since 2007 and we are committed to delivery of a further 100,000 by 2032 – with at least 70% of these available for social rent.”
Shelter’s polling small print
YouGov polled 2,060 adults for Shelter Scotland at the beginning of last month.
The numbers of people referred to in the above article uses Office for National Statistics population figures to the nearest thousand.
The 36% figure – representing 1.5m of the population aged 18 and over – is the percentage of all respondents who said they strongly agree or tend to agree with at least one of eight statements:
- I/we do not have enough bedrooms in the home, meaning there is a need for unsuitable room sharing
- My home has a significant mould, condensation or damp problems
- I cannot keep my home warm in winter
- My home has safety hazards such as faulty wiring, fire risks, or hazards that could cause a fall
- The home I live in is not structurally sound (it has significant defects/issues to the walls and/or roof)
- I/we regularly have to cut spending on household essentials to pay the rent/mortgage payments on my home
- I worry that I might lose/ be asked to leave the home I am currently living in
- I/we found it hard to find a safe, secure and affordable home because I experienced discrimination