A disabled woman with lung problems was left in a third floor flat with no lift for 17 months after Brighton and Hove City Council removed her from its housing waiting list.
The local ombudsman has told the council to apologise and pay her £350 after ruling it was at fault in how it dealt with her application.
The woman, named Ms B in its report, complained after the council removed her application for more accessible housing for herself and her disabled family member.
It took 17 months for the council to review its decision to remove her application — 15 months overdue by the council’s own targets.
The ombudsman report says: “This is far too long.”
The significant delay in processing the woman’s complaint and their handling was stated as a “significant fault by the council.”
In October 2019, Ms B appealed against the council’s decision to remove her from the waiting list – or housing register – on the basis she could manage the stairs to her council flat.
Ms B took on a formal advocate in January 2020 to argue her case. In February 2021 she fell and sustained multiple fractures.
When the council responded to the complaint in March 2021, they reinstated her application but only as Band C, the lowest priority.
As she could no longer manage the stairs, Ms B told the council that she had expected to be in Band A, the highest priority, and the council placed her in Band A with effect from April 2021.
Geraldine Des Moulins, chief executive of Possability People said: “There is a desperate shortage of affordable, accessible homes across the country, not just Brighton and Hove.
“For disabled people or people with complex health needs, a lack of suitable housing can exacerbate their conditions and be devastating.”
The council has been told to apologise to Ms B and pay her £350 in recognition of the distress, uncertainty and frustration its failings caused her.
The report says it has also initiated a Homeless Transformation Programme and allocated another officer to help clear the backlog of housing review requests.
The council was approached for comment.
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