Disabled ex-prisoner fears he’ll die before he can find suitable home
- Credit: Archant
A disabled man who has turned his back on a criminal past fears he will be dead before he is able to find suitable housing.
Seth Thacker now lives in a tiny privately rented bedsit on the top floor of a house on the North Circular Road in Neasden, while struggling with a host of medical conditions "that are only getting worse".
The 47-year-old has emphysema, epilepsy, hepatitis C, degenerative arthritis in his leg due to a 50ft fall from a building 13 years ago, and mental health issues.
Last year his doctor wrote repeated letters to Brent asking the authority to help his patient - which Seth says weren't acted on. Instead, he says, a housing officer told him there would likely be a 12-year wait before the council could find him anywhere better suited.
But a council spokesperson told us: "Mr Thacker has not yet applied to join the council's housing register. He is very welcome to do so and we would encourage him to contact us if he needs help to do this."
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Seth told the Kilburn Times he was never told to join the register. "A housing officer told me [I would] have to wait 12 years to get housing," he said, "when I've only got about 12 years to live."
He said he believed the easiest way to get help would be "to commit an offence to get probation help", but he vowed: "I'm not going to do that - it's against my faith."
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Seth became a Jehovah's Witness after he was introduced to the group while in prison where he was serving an 18-month sentence for cannabis possession in 2014.
"I was growing cannabis plants in my [housing association] flat for medicinal reasons, as a painkiller for my leg," he said. "I lost my flat."
Seth told this paper he had spent 15 years of his adult life behind bars for drug, theft and fraud offences, and said he left the supported housing given to him on release from prison after being burgled and robbed by another tenant.
He receives Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for his disabilities and housing benefit covers his monthly £1,150 rent, for which his new landlord didn't make him pay a deposit.
"I've tried finding other places to live but they all want deposits, references, stuff like that," he said.
"It's difficult for me to get out, painful for me to walk - I need a ground floor flat."