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Mentally-ill man with learning difficulties ‘forced to sleep on buses’ in housing battle with Brent Council

11:16 10 October 2016

Andrew Bell and mother Mary Kennedy   Pic credit: Jonathan Goldberg

Andrew Bell and mother Mary Kennedy Pic credit: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg

A mentally-ill man with learning difficulties has been forced to sleep on buses because Brent Council refuse to find accommodation for him, it has been claimed.

Andrew Bell, who grew up in Sudbury, has been homeless since he was discharged from a mental health unit after he was sectioned for 28 days in September.

The 30-year-old, who also suffers from epilepsy, had tried to jump off a bridge.

His mother Mary Kennedy, who lives in Perrin Road, has slammed the council for failing to help him.

She told the Times: “Andrew has had a lot of problems.

“He’s 30, has learning difficulties and epilepsy and struggles with mental health.

“He’s a danger to himself as he’s suicidal and was sectioned, yet Brent Council says he doesn’t meet the criteria for appropriate housing so he’s sleeping on the buses.”

Mrs Kennedy said the family have had to run to the council to find her son somewhere as there is an injunction against that stops him living with her.

Mr Bell is unable to live in a private flat because welfare rules for under 35’s means he won’t qualify for full housing benefit.

When Mr Bell was sectioned Brent Council were unable to find a place in a mental health unit so he was placed under the care of Newham Council in east London until he was discharged.

“Brent paid for him to receive care in Newham but since then they haven’t followed him up,” Mrs Kennedy added.

“He’s on medication so he must fall under some kind of mental health criteria, the council must be able to house him in a hostel or something.

“I’m seeing him every day and he’s deteriorating.

“He needs somewhere where he’s safe.”

A spokeswoman from Brent Council said a decision to house him will be based on “several factors and determined by a statutory assessment”.

She added: “Brent Council has offered Mr Bell an assessment to determine how we can help him. If he is homeless and in desperate need he will be offered emergency accommodation, most likely in B&B accommodation.

“The council is currently waiting for Mr Bell to schedule an appointment with us. We want to get him assessed and help him in any way we can. Mr Bell may be housed in a hostel if he is assessed as having needs which require supported accommodation.”

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