Lancing mother fights for disabled housing solution

Coral Barnett with Faith, 5, who she calls 'a little legend'
Coral Barnett with Faith, 5, who she calls 'a little legend'

The mother of a disabled five-year-old is calling for the council to make it easier for disabled people to secure suitable accommodation.

Coral Barnett’s ‘cheeky and happy’ daughter Faith was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, which means she often needs to use a wheelchair.

Living in an adapted home has been a 'godsend' for the family

Living in an adapted home has been a 'godsend' for the family

Coral said of her daughter: “She’s a little legend.

“She’s shown us so much in life.”

The 25-year-old’s struggle to bid on a suitable home for her family, which also includes dad Daniel and 18-month-old Oakley, inspired her campaign.

“I’m not just fighting for my daughter,” she said. “I’m fighting for all the disabled people out there.”

It took two years for the family to be moved from a non-adapted Sompting home, which was ‘impossible’ for Faith because of its narrow doorways and steps.

And their situation was not unique.

“A lot of disabled people are stuck in houses they can’t get out of,” said Coral.

“We shouldn’t have to struggle.”

In comparison, the adapted bungalow in Lancing’s West Lane they finally moved to was ‘a godsend’.

Fully adapted with wide doors, the home’s wet room means Faith can shower herself, while the adjustable kitchen top means she can join in with baking, which she loves.

“It gives her an independent lifestyle,” Coral said.

But now the family need to move to a home that can better accommodate Faith’s extensive medical equipment, and face another long wait.

Coral wants to set up a mutual exchange facility, where people will be able to swap adapted homes with eachother to find a residence that better suits their needs.

This would help people to downsize and would free up much-needed adapted homes, while circumventing the lengthy bidding process.

A similar scheme exists for non-adapted housing, and Coral is setting up a meeting with the council and housing associations to discuss taking her idea forward.

A spokesperson said Adur District Council said: “Adur Homes currently adapts around 80 properties a year with specific adaptations for different needs.

“When an adapted home becomes vacant, our priority is to match an applicant to a home with the right adaptations to suit their particular needs.”

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