A change of accommodation IMCA referral was received for Khushdip who is a 57 old lady who has been diagnosed with delusional disorder, depression and with displaying hoarding behaviours. Khushdip has been living alone in a 3 bedroom council rented accommodation for the last ten years. The property where she lives is in a high state of disrepair.

Khushdip has had long standing historical issues with the way that her Housing Association have managed the home repairs she has reported. She maintains that she will ideally like to move to another 3 bedroom property, yet reports that she has only been offered unsuitable alternative accommodation. Khushdip informed the IMCA that the properties that have been offered to her have been a one and two bedroom properties and according to her in a very poor state, requiring significant building repairs. As a result she has refused to accept any of the offers to date made by the LA.

 Khushdip has been advised that housing association will need to undertake a thorough survey of her property in order to ascertain the extent and costs of the repairs. She has been advice if the estimated cost of the repairs exceed £100,000 and the Local Authority are under no obligation to rehouse her back to existing property, and have reported that they estimate that the building works could take at least a year to be completed. They have advised that there is dry and wet rot that is affecting the roof and the floors of the property, and both structures could be at significant risk of collapsing. As a result, Khushdip needs to move out of her property asap, as her health and safety and that of her neighbours is at serious risk.

As process with all agencies involved had arrived at a stand still, nothing was happened to safeguard this vulnerable client and Khushdip’s home environment continue to pose a significant risk to her and others including death should part of the property collapse, a Safeguarding Alert was raised by the IMCA.

IMCA made representations in the alert for protective measures to be put in place and minimize existing risks, as agencies involved were not taking any practical steps to ensure this lady’s safety. As a consequence a proposal has been made for Khushdip to be moved to alternative temporary accommodation so the property can initially be made safe, and building works can be subsequently undertaken.

Khushdip refused to see IMCA or any professional in person, even though this was offered to her countless of times. IMCA was able to successfully engage with Khushdip by phone on the terms set by client by adhering to times and dates which where decided by client. IMCA held lengthy and very detailed conversations with Khushdip which offered to the discussion/decision detail and scope of why she was reluctant to cooperate with services and her precise views and wishes. Although Khushdip understood urgent repair work was needed, she did not appear to understand the severity of the risk to her life should part of the house collapse.

Two types of accommodation have been offered to her.  A one bedroom property in the same street where she lives, which she declined as she felt it was too small and the previous owner had died and was known to her, and a two bedroom property in the same geographic area which she has accepted. IMCA discussed these with the client and was able to make representations on her behalf.

Khushdip was incredibly mistrustful of any interaction with professionals. IMCA had to invest significant time and effort in gaining trust and opening an effective line of communication. Much of the communication unfolded as a monologue as the lady whom was in need to express her anguish with her housing situation. So it took patience and considerable tact  to build rapport and channelled the conversation to the decision in question whilst empowering to articulate her views and wishes. IMCA did not challenge the assessment of lack of capacity, however Khushdip was able to take a large part in the decision making process once a relationship had been established.

The Safeguarding Alert was very effective as it propelled the process to move forward, which had been stagnant for a very long time. As a result of the alert, the previous non-existent communication between agencies resulted in all now working in partnership to action a viable solution for Khushdip This in part included providing Khushdip with practical support to pack/move and settle in the new placement, and rebuilding a bridge of trust that had so heavily tarnished .  In effect, Khushdip was very happy with one of the properties offered and eventually moved house without the move affecting her mental health.

Khushdip valued the independence of the IMCA and the respect and honesty she was treated when she engaged with her. Khushdip was happy with the outcome and her new flat and provided positive feedback to IMCA and to Local Authority