I have been trying for the Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) for nearly 3 years. One application was rejected with no reason, and the second was delayed as we had no Occupational Therapist (OT). Harry (my son) was ill, and we have only over the last 6 months got another OT.
Our third application was delayed again with no explanation, so I start to dig around to look for further information and try to discover the reason for no response to my application.
I came across the paper that states the government’s guidelines. The document clearly states each act which the document reflects and what must be done to gain the DFG, how much is given to local authorities to ensure that DFG grants can be carried out. In short, £185 million is given to each local authority, but this is no longer ring-fenced, and is given as a block sum of money. In my local authority’s case, all the council stock has been passed on to the housing association; as a consequence there is stand-off between the local authority and the housing association which means that essential works cannot be carried out. The money that is normally used to complete the works is being used for other tasks, such as roads etc, and, as a consequence, lives are literally being put at risk, carers' health is being seriously affected too.
Is this situation isolated to Suffolk? Answer no! The government and housing association’s preference is to move people on after they made a secure and stable home, quite often, out of a property which is in appalling condition. This is typical of the Dickensian attitudes forcing undesirable people out of sight so as not to cause offence.
This situation cannot continue. In my case I qualify at all levels for the DFG even under the Chronically Sick and Disabled People’s Act 1971 (the forerunner to our current Equality Legislation) and various other European directives. It’s time for officials to finally realise that this tiny sum of money can achieve so much and ultimately save money by improving the quality of life and the health of carers and disabled people. The DFG is not reaching those that need it.