Disabled veteran's plea for home after waiting four years

A disabled Army veteran suffering from leukaemia is stuck in a council house that is so unsuitable to his needs that he has to go to a nearby supermarket to use the toilet.

Thursday, 4th May 2017, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:52 pm
Bill Baxter with his daughter Kimberley (Pic: David Cruickshanks)
Bill Baxter with his daughter Kimberley (Pic: David Cruickshanks)

Bill Baxter (64) has mobility issues and is hoping the council will be able to rehouse him in a smaller property which has better disabled facilities.

He has osteoarthritis in both hips and his lower spine, and relies on two sticks when out of the house.

The narrow bathroom and lack of a ramp outside his current property in Burntisland can create great difficulties for Bill, and he relies on relatives nearby for meals as he can’t stand long enough to cook for himself.

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Bill said: “I suffer in pain 24-7, even during the night.

“I just want to downgrade. It’s a family house. I’m sitting here in a three bedroom house with subsidised rent. How much money is the council losing when they can let it out and get full rent for it?”

Bill has a seat for the bath, but fell while trying to climb in and dislocated his hip.

“I need a wet room to wash in,” said Bill, who served in the Royal Artillery and with the Royal Engineers at RAF Leuchars.

“I have to wash myself down and my carer comes in and mops up the floor.”

Bill’s daughter, Kimberley Wiggins, said: “I just want my dad to be able to live with dignity.

“In the last month his health has definitely deteriorated. The council is currently building some new bungalows, but his chances of getting one of them are slim.

“We want to see him in a house or bungalow where he can get proper care.

“We’re uprooting from Glasgow and moving to Fife to help care for my dad because he’s so ill. He’s living in a big family home. You’d think that the council would want him out of there so someone else could move in.”

Bill’s family have turned to Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance for help in finding more suitable accommodation.

Mr Torrance said: “Mr Baxter’s family approached me with their concerns regarding William’s housing situation.

“I have been working with the family, and Fife Council, to try and resolve this situation and I believe Mr Baxter has recently received an increase in points. Whilst I am glad that some progress has been made, I would urge Fife Council to consider the gentleman’s health issues and reach a resolution to this situation as soon as possible.”

Ken Burns, Fife Council housing manager for housing access said: “There’s a shortage of accessible ground floor properties in the areas Mr Baxter has selected. We’ve spoken to him about his current options in relation to his needs and choice of house types.

“The Council’s housing occupational therapists support people in Mr Baxter’s position by carrying out assessments and providing a range of aids or adaptations to their current home.

“We’ll continue working with Mr Baxter to ensure he is given adequate support while we wait for a housing opportunity to become available.”