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CHARITY SEEKS REVIEW OF SURREY CC's OBLIGATION TO DISABLED

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The Independent (p4) reports how the National Schizophrenia Fellowship is seeking a judicial review of Surrey CC's ...
The Independent (p4) reports how the National Schizophrenia Fellowship is seeking a judicial review of Surrey CC's decision not to pay the mortgage arrears on a house occupied by a disabled man.

A building society is seeking to repossess Robert Moore's house in Addlestone, Surrey, because of arrears which have built up since the Department of Social Security stopped covering his housing costs, though it had paid the mortgage for four years.

If Mr Moore is evicted, Surrey social services or housing department may have to pay far more for Mr Moore to live in residential sheltered accommodation, says the paper.

It says Mr Moore has suffered from schizophrenia since 1970 after a nervous breakdown. He became paralysed after jumping from a first floor window at a hostel for mentally ill people in 1987. While he was in hospital he sister tried unsuccessfully to arrange accommodation with Surrey CC for when he was discharged.

Miss Moore then applied to build a home for her brother on land attached to her own home but was refused planning permission by Runnymede BC because it was in a green belt. So she bought a bungalow suitable for adaptation for her brother.

She had been advised that Runnymede BC have to pay her brother housing benefit and planned to charge him just enough rent to cover the mortgage repayments. After a long dispute the council agreed to pay some housing benefits, but less the mortgage repayments. The council said it could provide cheaper alternative accommodation, but when she applied, the council said it did not have suitable accommodation.

After a ruling by the Social Security Commissioner, the DSS agreed to pay the mortgage interest but it still has not paid any of the money owed since 1992. Miss Moore has applied to Surrey CC to pay off the arrears, arguing that under the Mental Health Act it has a duty to ensure that adequate after-care for her brother, including housing. The council says it does not have powers to pay mortgage arrears.

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