Local Matter… National Significance

Published 17th January 2012

An article in the Guardian newspaper, over the Christmas holiday period, highlighted the plight of Gavin Skinner, a 30 year old man left paralysed from the neck down by a car crash seven years ago, who lives in an elderly persons housing complex, inadequate to fully meet his care needs and the frustration of Wirral Methodist Housing Association who built a purpose built home for Gavin, but who have been unable to let him occupy because Government changes have left the shared ownership principles on which it was based in ruins.

Wirral Methodist have pioneered the concept of Home Ownership for those with Long-term disability (HOLD) in the North West for nearly 10 years. Under HOLD arrangements Gavin would have qualified for an interest only loan to purchase a half share in the property renting the remainder, with Housing Benefit support, from the Association. HOLD has been jeopardised by the Government cutting by half, the rate at which it provides Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) on which the scheme was pinned causing the only remaining lender to withdraw from the market.

Chief Executive, Alun Hughes said, “The arguments have been made by us and others to the Department of Works and Pensions as to the social and financial benefits to clients and the taxpayer alike, but they appear to have fallen on deaf ears. In the meantime we will continue to strive to find a lender who will provide Gavin with the sustainable financial product he needs to move into his `dream` home in spite of that indifference”.

For information contact
Alun L Hughes
Chief Executive

and/or view the Guardian website:
Photograph: Howard Barlow for the Guardian