Kingston: Disabled woman forced to sleep on sofa after being told to wait 7 years for a council house

By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

20th Jan 2022 | Local News

Mollie Harman has pulled muscles in her back from sleeping on the sofa (Credit: Melissa Cook)
Mollie Harman has pulled muscles in her back from sleeping on the sofa (Credit: Melissa Cook)

A 21-year-old disabled woman in Kingston has been trapped on her mum's sofa for three months and claims she was told to wait seven years for a council house.

Mollie Harman lives with her parents and brother in Kingston but has been forced to sleep on the sofa downstairs as she has to climb the stairs with her bum to reach her room.

The only bathroom is downstairs so Mollie needs to stay as close to it as possible and says she is often too tired to climb the stairs.

Mollie told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she has "pulled muscles in [her] back and not been able to move properly from sleeping on the sofa."

She said: "I can barely get up and down off the sofa to be honest – it's horrible.

"On my good days, I am upstairs, when I manage to get up there on my own, but other than that I'm on the sofa."

"There's not enough space for anything that I need up there."

"Because of college I'm just too tired to make it up there and back down, especially because when I'm up there if I need the toilet," Mollie added.

"I have the choice of either using a commode which I have nowhere to put in my room or coming downstairs to the toilet so I don't really have a choice but to sleep downstairs."

The bathroom is a shower over the bath so when Mollie wants to shower she has to use a bath board.

The 21-year-old said: "It's not that sturdy, it's not great but it's the only choice I have because the council won't even look at coming and just putting a shower in and taking the bath out."

She added: "I need one level living. I'm on the housing list. I know I'm pretty high on the list but [Kingston Council] keep just telling me there's no properties and there won't be any.

"It doesn't make me feel great because, when I did actually manage to speak to someone, she said to me unless I can wait seven or more years or make yourself homeless to the point I am on the streets, we can't help you.

"I've been looking even to go to private rent, but again, they want three grand up front just for me to even move in and I've not got three grand.

"It honestly drains the life out of you because you're forever in a fight."

Mollie used to have a hospital bed in the living room but it took up so much space that she returned it.

She said: "We could only have a two seater sofa and obviously, there was no privacy for me.

"No one could really use the living room so we made a choice to give the hospital bed back so we could gain another sofa because it was needed."

A Kingston Council spokesperson said: "We are committed to transforming housing options in the borough and ensuring people in Kingston have the right place to live, especially our most vulnerable residents.

"We need more affordable homes for local people, as well as different types of homes to offer choice and accessibility to the right housing in the right places.

"There is a huge demand for social housing across the borough, with over 900 households living in temporary accommodation and more than 3,700 on our housing register for social housing."

They added: "We understand how difficult and frustrating this is for those affected and we are doing all we can to address this housing need in the borough.

"This includes building the first new council homes in Kingston in a generation, and developing an innovative approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness in the borough.

"We're also appealing to landlords to help us house those in housing need through our private leasing schemes, by getting in touch with us on our website."

     

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