Social housing shortage hits family’s care for Umar

Social housing shortage hits family’s care for Umar

A FAMILY’S plight has shed light on a lack of social housing in Batley suitable for disabled children.

The home of Ismail and Fahima Kandawala, on Providence Street, cannot be altered for eight-year-old son Umar.

He has multiple disabilities caused by a rare brain condition.

Warehouse worker Ismail, 37, and Fahima, 27, tried to add an extension so they can fit in all Umar’s care equipment.

But engineers said strengthening the foundations for the new build would damage the house next door.

Having spent £7,000 of their savings on the extension, they cannot afford to buy another home, and so turned to Kirklees Council.

Ismail and Fahima got on the housing register but are stuck due to a lack of suitable properties.

They were denied one option, a four-bedroom home on West Park Road, on under-occupancy rules.

In the meantime, the couple went with Umar and his brother Mohammed, two, to live with family members. Umar, who attends Fairfield School in Heckmondwike, has problems including learning difficulties, incontinence and epilepsy.

Lack of disabled access at the properties of Ismail’s brother and Fahima’s mum meant they returned home.

Kirklees are putting new steps and a path outside while they continue bidding for social housing.

Fahima said: “If we could afford a deposit we’d move. The safety of our family is so important we wouldn’t be waiting for housing if we had a choice.”

Paul Howard, of the council’s accessible homes team, said the couple are on the register with appropriate banding and bedroom entitlement.

He added: “There’s only a limited number of properties that meet the family’s specific needs within their preferred areas.

“If the family choose not to accept the ones available, there’ll be an inevitable delay before another can be found.

“We will continue to work with the family to find a solution.”

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