'Ten-year waiting list for a new home, I'll probably be dead by then'

Kirsty Moore has a chronic illness but isn't considered to be in housing need under current rules.

There are 66 steps to and from Kirsty Moore’s front door – climbing them leaves her physically exhausted.

She has a chronic illness and struggles with her breathing after being intubated when she was in a coma.

Under the current criteria, Kirsty isn’t considered to be in housing need.

The City of Edinburgh Council has classed her as a “mover”, which means she is physically mobile. It’s a classification Kirsty disagrees with and was informed of via email.   

Her home in Edinburgh isn’t suitable for her medical needs and is leaving her cut off, struggling with her mental health and dependant on the goodwill of others to make her medical appointments and do daily tasks.  

“I’ve left the house once this year on January 6,” she told STV News. “You just feel so alone and desperate. I am rather isolated and rely on other people to help, for example, taking my rubbish out.

“I have great neighbours. So (I would be in difficulty) if it wasn’t for the help of other people and my ability to know who to phone for help.”

Kirsty has applied for a home that will allow her to gain more independence and better suit her medical requirement.

But she was told by Edinburgh Council that the waiting list for a new home is ten years.

News At Six discussion: Is Scotland in the midst of a housing crisis?

“My initial thought was I’ll probably be dead by then,” said Kirsty. “I don’t know what to do. I was gobsmacked. Ten years. I can’t handle it.

“Not being able to go outside to meet friends, not being able to go for a walk out to the garden to feed the birds. And the isolation…the difficulty in keeping yourself together, you know? What’s the point?

“It’s very, very soul destroying. I thought I’d gotten my point across about how unwell I was, the medical evidence that was there.

“There was no information on the email I received whatsoever about an ability to appeal this decision, or who I could contact to challenge (the decision) that I have been assessed as a ‘mover’ when I cannot breathe.”

Councils that have declared a housing emergency.STV News

Edinburgh Council, alongside local authorities in Glasgow and Argyll and Bute, have declared a state of housing emergency.

That means there aren’t enough suitable, stable homes.

Kirsty remains fearful of the further impact the housing emergency will have on her mental health.

She said: “People who have been visiting me have been visiting me when I’ve been horizontal in bed.

Kirsty Moore at home.STV News

“I’m just struggling to get up to make meals and just general personal care and just trying my hardest to remain as positive as possible.

“In the end it’s going to have an impact on the NHS. More mental health issues, more ill health and in the long run it’s going to cost the government an awful lot more money.”

Since STV News highlighted Kirsty’s case to Edinburgh Council she’s been placed on a priority list. 

Cammy Day, leader of Edinburgh Council, told STV News: “I sympathise with the tenant and I’m so sorry to hear that their current circumstances are causing them a lot of worry. We want our tenants and residents to live in safe homes where their health is a priority.”

“Our officers have reviewed Ms Moore’s circumstances and will arrange to contact her with advice on appropriate bidding.

“One of our housing colleagues will be available as a point of contact, should Ms Moore have any further concerns.”

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