Disability campaigner Rob Carver, 33, is urging the public to sign a petition targeting Brighton and Hove City Council, who he says have left him in unsuitable accommodation.
He explains: “About six years ago I became ill and started falling over and passing out. This has progressed and now I am pretty much paralysed and wheelchair bound. The council moved me into my current flat 5 years ago, despite my doctors telling them not to put me in an attic because my condition is degenerative. They ignored them and put me in here and have ever since been arguing that this is perfectly acceptable.
“I’m a total paraplegic so I cannot do anything for myself and my carer has to pull me around. The flat is very small and the bathroom is tiny, with a shower over a half size bath. It isn’t appropriate at all. My carer has to physically pull me up and throw me into the bath. It’s incredibly dangerous: he shouldn’t be pulling me around because it causes physical damage to my body. I have fallen down the stairs quite a lot. He can’t catch me so he has to stand back and let me go if I’m falling. It’s very dangerous.
“I don’t sleep in my bedroom anymore because I can’t get in there. The gap between the bed and the wardrobe is too small so I have to sleep sitting up or I lay in the same position.
Rob has been offered two properties by the council. One was rejected by his medical team because it is plagued by drug and social problems, while the other was not wheelchair accessible at all.
“My medical team suggest that I need around the clock care which would equate to having someone live in, so I require a two bedroom ground floor property with a sufficient care package – it’s not just the housing. The council don’t feel that I need live in care even though it has been suggested to them by fourteen medical professionals. I’m a prisoner, treated like an animal and I feel totally excluded from normal society. This isn’t a life. I barely exist.
Rob is putting his energy into starting a charity – Still Human UK – which supports people with both physical and mental health problems: “We do everything from advocacy to housing support to writing letters on headed paper. We’re hoping to develop a housing project of ten to fifteen houses with a community centre in the middle. It will be for disabled homeless people for rehabilitation and set up for mental health as well as physical disabilities. We would like to use it as a template to extend all over the UK. We’re very much at the beginning but we have some high profile people on board and are hoping to move forward quite rapidly.
“I can talk for myself most of the time but there are thousands of people that can’t. They can’t speak out and they are being treated even worse than I am. People are literally dying out there.”
Despite the long running dispute, Rob is determined not to give up in his fight: “They literally can’t do anything worse to me. I don’t care. They can throw me on the street and I will still scream the house down – or the streets down… What I say is while you’ve still got it – scream your tits off.”
A spokesperson for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We are very sorry this situation is ongoing. We’ve worked hard for many months to provide Mr Carver with suitable accommodation and have made several offers. We are committed to working with health professionals and partner agencies to find accommodation which meets Mr Carver’s needs and which he finds acceptable. In the meantime, we will continue to offer advice and support. We understand that Mr Carver is in contact with the ombudsman and we will cooperate fully with any investigation.”