LOUGHTON: Father slams council's 'lack of support' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
LOUGHTON: Father slams council's 'lack of support'
10:49am Wednesday 1st June 2011
A PENSIONER has slammed the council for removing support from his mentally-ill son.
William Long, 71, of Lushes Road, Loughton, cares for his son Michael Long, 43, who has mental health issues, but lived on his own until recently.
He said his son had gone to stay with him on and off when he needed extra support about eight weeks ago.
Although he was still visiting his council-owned home in Westall Road, also in Loughton, Michael's neighbours reported to the council that the house was not being lived in, so his housing benefit was withdrawn.
“The council didn't contact me at all,” said Mr Long. “They should have done. They knew the position and that I was Michael's carer and knew where I lived.
“They said he never answered their letters, which he never would anyway.”
Mr Long fought the decision with the council for two months, but eventually paid £1,300 in rent to the council and his son, who cannot work, has given notice to leave his home.
Mr Long said his son had first started losing his independence when the support groups he used such as Spanners social club in Loughton and the Roding House drop-in centre in Buckhurst Hill had to close due to a lack of funding last year.
“All the outside help has been taken away,” he added. “Michael is all right as long as he's meeting up with other people, but at the moment, they have cut the whole thing off.
“They seem to target the most vulnerable people.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.
"If a person has a rent and/or council tax liability for a property in which they are resident and which is their main place of residence, they can apply for a housing benefit and council tax benefit.
“However, we cannot pay benefit if someone is not actually living in a property, even if they have a liability.
“If anyone has any queries about this, they should contact the benefits division of the council.”
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