Disabled Bucknall man awaiting house move asks Stoke-on-Trent City Council: 'How more disabled do I have to be?'
DISABLED council tenant David Williams says red tape is holding up his move to a bungalow.
The 54-year-old has been waiting two months to be re-housed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, despite identifying several vacant bungalows in his area.
Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and diabetes have left Mr Williams unable to walk very far or climb the stairs in his three-bedroom Bucknall home.
He has to sleep on his sofa and rely on his wife Tracy to give him sponge baths.
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But despite repeated calls to the city council's housing department, the couple are still waiting to be moved.
Following an assessment earlier this week, the city council confirmed Mr Williams is eligible for a move.
But the authority said that due to the large number of housing requests it receives, it had to prioritise the most urgent.
Mr Williams believes the seriousness of his disability should make him a priority.
He said: "I've had problems for a while but it suddenly got worse a couple of months ago. I went to Blackpool and I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair, I just couldn't get around at all.
"I can't get up the stairs so I have to sleep on the couch, and my wife has to wash me.
"When I go out to the shop I need a walking frame. It's been like this for the last two months."
While they have been waiting to hear from the council the couple have been searching for bungalows in the Bucknall area, where they wish to stay.
They have found a number of suitable properties, but none have so far been offered to them.
Mr Williams added: "We've found seven or eight bungalows in the area that were empty, but whenever we tell the council about them they've just given them to somebody else.
"It just seems like we're doing the council's work for them.
"I appreciate what they're saying, that there are probably people who are more disabled, but how much more disabled do I have to be?
"I've fallen a few times when I've been trying to climb the stairs."
The couple have lived at their home in Theodore Road for 15 years, and, regardless of Mr Williams's disability, no longer require such a large house.
They believe they are not the only family to be losing out because of the hold-up in rehousing them.
Mrs Williams, aged 46, added: "It's just us in the house now, so two of the bedrooms aren't being used.
"If the council re-housed us then they could give this house to a young family who need it more than us."
Val Bourne, assistant director of housing services, insisted the authority was trying to help the couple.
She said: "We are aware of Mr Williams' situation, he received an assessment on Monday of his disability and housing needs.
"The assessment showed that alterations to the current property wouldn't be appropriate, but alternative accommodation is required.
"We are working with Mr Williams to find a suitable alternative property.
"Due to the volume of demands, it is necessary to prioritise allocations so the most urgent are dealt with first."