A father and his bereaved 14-year-old daughter are hopeful that their days of sharing a tiny bedsit may soon be over.
Ian Wallace and his daughter, Jemma, say they are near the end of their tether after living in the cramped property, Hedges House, in West Lavington, for almost three months.
The bedsit, which is in sheltered accommodation, comprises a living room, kitchen and bathroom. Mr Wallace, who has a bad back, sleeps on a sofa bed, while Jemma sleeps on cushions on the floor.
Mr Wallace, 57, had lived there on his own for almost two years. Jemma, who lived in Peterborough, came to live with him on July 20 after her mother died.
He immediately registered with Homes 4 Wiltshire for social housing and has been bidding every week for suitable homes but with no success. Mr Wallace has been unemployed since last year when he was among a number of staff laid off from Haydens Bakeries in Devizes. He said: “I just want to get Jemma settled. She has been through enough, with losing her mum and moving to a different part of the country.
“She is 14 and needs her privacy. She doesn’t like sleeping on the floor but she is not one to complain.
“I live in sheltered accommodation with elderly people, it’s not the environment my daughter should be in. I am frustrated and I’m under the doctor at the moment with stress. “I know there are probably people who are worse off than us but I think we have been waiting too long.” Jemma, who previously lived in a three bedroom house, said: “It’s difficult. I sleep on the floor and I have started getting a pain in my knee because my leg hits a table. I’d rather have my own room with my private stuff.”
When he first applied to Homes 4 Wiltshire in July Mr Wallace was given the banding of bronze, but after a social worker was assigned to Jemma a month later the banding went up two places to gold because of “serious overcrowding” at his bedsit. There are two other bandings above gold – gold plus and platinum. Yesterday Mr Wallace was told by Homes 4 Wiltshire that his bid for a two bedroom flat in Devizes, had been approved. He and Jemma are going to view it today. Mr Wallace said: “I’m relieved.”
At the end of September there were more than 16,000 people on the Homes 4 Wiltshire housing register.
In the year 2010/11 the scheme allocated almost 2,000 properties.