Desperate for a home: YEP readers tell their stories over council house waiting lists in Leeds

House-hunters across the city have shared their desperate stories in their bids to get a council house in Leeds

Sunday, 29th September 2019, 6:00 pm
Old and new. New council houses at The Garnets in Beeston sit alongside traditional terraces.

One mother and her children face life in a shelter because she can't get a council house and one woman who has been judged to have the most urgent need has still been waiting 78 weeks for a house to come up.

The personal stories come after the Yorkshire Evening Post's latest instalment in the City Divided series, which, has been looking at the growing issue of social inequality in Leeds.

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This is how long it takes to get a council house in different parts of Leeds

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The YEP has been reporting how the city of Leeds has become divided.

Heather Poynter said her daughter and grandson have to move out of their private rented home in mid-October as it is being sold and, despite council houses being built nearby, she won't be considered for one as she is moving out of private rented and is struggling to get another tenancy as she has just finished maternity leave and is not back to work yet.

She added: "Council say she is very unlikely to get a home even after they're homeless and they'll put them in a shelter. Not good enough."

Meanwhile, Louise Ruthe said the waiting times quoted are "unrealistic".

She said: "I have been on band A since April 2018. I’m not complaining about not getting a house as it goes on a needs basis but 78 weeks is a bit too long. Hopefully me and my family can get a house soon."

The issue is not just Leeds specific. Samantha North says that she is on waiting lists on both West and North Yorkshire areas and has been for four years, despite being considered to be living in an over-crowded house.

The scheme, which was controversial then, is still divisive of opinion now with some saying the Thatcher government sold the houses for votes.

But Michael Moran said: "Before right to buy came along, the idea that council house tenants would ever own their own property was just a dream. People jumped at the chance, I mean, who wouldn't? The notion that it was a Tory ploy to keep you from striking or voting for them is ridiculous.

!Most people who bought their council house will have voted Labour and probably still do. The problem is the lack of replacement properties which is an issue that needs addressing."