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Council criticised for delay in finding disabled man home

A disabled man had to sleep rough and ‘sofa surf’ for more than three months during the winter despite asking the Royal Borough for help with accommodation, a report has found.

The man, who suffered from mental and physical health conditions, approached the council shortly before Christmas in 2015.

But he was left to fend for himself after the borough mishandled his homelessness application before later offering him an unsuitable home, a report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) said.

Michael King, from the LGO, said: “This is another example of a council on the outskirts of the capital struggling to cope with homelessness within its boundaries.”

When the man, who has not been named, first asked for help, he was offered a temporary home in Guildford, Kent or Southall at 5pm that day but was given no way of getting there. His next offer came in March, but this was in Maidenhead and some distance from his support network in Windsor.

The Ombudsman found he regularly called the council’s housing officer but his calls were not returned.

He was moved to temporary accommodation in Windsor, but this was on the third floor which caused him pain getting to the flat.

He was offered a permanent home in March 2017.

The Ombudsman has recommended the council apologise and pay the man £4,175 for time spent without a home and living in unsuitable accommodation.

A Royal Borough spokesman apologised for not providing a good service and said it had made changes to increase its level of support for residents.

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