I attended a seminar earlier this year at Mount Murray concerning ‘housing reforms’ and it was discussed then about local authority housing perhaps being run from Douglas rather than from different authorities around the island.
There was a lot of concern regarding what would happen to jobs within the local authorities.
I feel Brenda Cannell had every right to ask Chris Robertshaw about the possibility of all housing authorities being banished and his department taking over full responsibility for running the control of the 5,501 local authority houses and flats in the island.
As it stands at the moment the general consensus is that it will happen the only question is when?
There is also the issue of the 643 sheltered homes around the island for elderly people that at this moment in time is causing me concern.
Government have come up with a scheme called ‘Live at Home’ where elderly people have the opportunity of living in their own homes rather than going into residential or nursing care.
On paper this looks very attractive.
In reality it’s a farce because the ulterior motive behind this is to save government money.
To keep someone in their own home at present costs around £70 to £80 per week, to have someone in care costs £1,000 per week so it’s no surprise that government are pushing for the scheme of live at home.
Unfortunately the support for people living at home falls far short of proper care in the community, elderly people are left waiting for carers to turn up to wash them.
Elderly people living at home are being ‘means tested’ for basic things like a shower because they are unable to get into a bath.
Furthermore, any help elderly people do get is only from 9am to 5pm after that it stops until 9am the following morning.
If Chris Robertshaw does take over control and as is suspected gets rid of all wardens and other staff from sheltered housing, what is going to happen to the elderly during the evening if they fall or feel unwell?
What is going to happen if the fire alarm sounds and an elderly person cannot get out of their flat?
What is going to happen if there is a burst water pipe?
Who do they call for help?
How long will it take for someone to respond from central government?
As usual, government has come up with an easy fix: hit the elderly and save money.
If this plan does go through, as it probably will, I suggest that Chris Robertshaw should hang his head in shame for once again targeting the vulnerable instead of targeting the hangers-on that work within government posts who have nothing better to do with their time than come up with plans that put elderly people at risk.
Cooil Roi Sheltered Housing,