Campaigner calls for help over threat of homelessness


Alison’s health limits available housing stock available for her

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNER and artist Alison Stell fears she will be made homeless come December due to her struggle to find an appropriate place to live. 

Stell, who lives in North Ayrshire, contacted CommonSpace to share her story and concerns that the housing system is failing to respond to people like her in desperate need of support.

Stell’s current home is being sold by its owner, meaning she has only a few months to find somewhere new. However, her poor health and lack of clarity from housing support has led Stell to feel helpless. 

“I’m probably just one of many…I just thought that in 2016 that this situation where someone unwell wouldn't end up abandoned.”

“I tried to get help from the council (North Ayrshire Council) but they told me that the only thing they would do is add points to my application,” Stell told CommonSpace. 

“I have already lost my health, and by proxy my job, any savings I had and now I’m losing my home. I am in a situation with failing health; chronic pain, neuropathy and spasms.”

“They do not keep housing stock/areas anymore for disabled people so they've given away all of the properties I was eligible for,” she added.

“I’m probably just one of many…I just thought that in 2016 that this situation where someone unwell wouldn't end up abandoned.”

Stell contacted her local representatives for help, but found herself having to wait on council services support.

CommonSpace contacted the council regarding the case – who are limited in how much it can comment publicly on individual cases. 

The following morning after the media inquiry, the council contacted Stell to provide support during the process – which will hopefully lead to some form of accommodation. 

Stell was active politically during the independence referendum and recently won the artists competition to design the front page of The National newspaper.

CommonSpace has covered a variety of housing and homelessness issues, including the protest camp that was set up by the homeless community in Glasgow to demand social change.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council told CommonSpace: “Where a person is at risk of homelessness, we will provide housing advice and assistance to help prevent this from happening. This includes: discussion regarding access to social rented housing, assistance to access private sector housing with the help of our Rent Deposit Guarantee scheme, referrals to various services such as money and debt advice, housing support, social services and various other agencies as determined necessary to meet the needs of the individual household. 

“Where a person is threatened with homelessness within a two-month period, we will work alongside the household to try and either remove the threat of homelessness or rehouse the person prior to the eviction date. 

“Where homelessness does occur, we will provide temporary accommodation and undertake an assessment of the person’s needs to assist them in securing alternative permanent accommodation.”

Local MP Patricia Gibson told CommonSpace that helping her constituents on personal cases is covered by data protection.

Gibson added: “Ultimately this is a matter for the local authority but measures are in place for those at risk of homelessness. Robust efforts are made to ensure that no individual is left out on the streets.

“I work with and support all constituents who come to me for advice.”

Picture courtesy of Alison Stell

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