A BLIND man has spoken of his desperation with the housing system in East Hampshire amid a three-year wait to secure a home for him and his guide dog.
A petition to get Matt Darkin a home of his own in Liss has highlighted how increasingly difficult it’s getting to secure social or affordable housing.
The 51 year old desperately wants a one-bedroom property for him and his guide dog, Rose, as they’ve been cooped up in a friends house in the village for the last three years. But although he remains hopeful of eventually getting a place, Mr Darkin admits it’s hard to stay positive when there is such a dearth of options.
“It’s becoming really desperate now,” said Mr Darkin, who has been blind since his mid-20s.
“If it wasn’t for a friend of mine doing me a favour and letting me stay then I would be homeless. I’ve got nowhere else to go and the fact I’ve been registered blind for a long time and have a guide dog seems to make no difference whatsoever.”
Matt wants to settle in Liss as he was “born and bred” in the village and needs familiar surroundings. He joined the housing register in 2021 but finished 12th out of 150 eligible places for a one-bedroom bungalow nearby.
He thought his wait was over when an Almshouse in West Liss became available but he missed out by one place with ever-decreasing options since.
He added: “I’ve done everything I possibly can to live somewhere in the village but there just isn’t a suitable property for someone like me, a blind man with a dog.
“There’s too many people and not enough social housing and it seems to me that councils are restricted in where they can build.”
He added: “I’m nearly 52 and I just want my own home. Is that too much to ask? It’s not like we’re a great big clan, it’s just me and my dog.”
Matt’s friend, Helen Evans, launched the ‘Help Matt and Rose get a home of their own in Liss’ petition on www.change.org, with 430 signatures and counting. It can be signed here: https://shorturl.at/gvCG5
She said: “I felt something had to be done and I’ll just keep plugging it. It’s not right for Matt to be living like this.”
Around 1,600 people are currently on the EHDC housing waiting list but the number is growing all the time, putting increasing pressure on finite stock.
“Every day our housing team works with local people like Mr Darkin who have a legitimate need for new housing in East Hampshire,” said a spokesman for EHDC.
"The number of properties that are available for social housing is limited, and this number reduces further the more restrictions an individual has, such as location, property type and size.
"The property in Liss Mr Darkin applied for received around 150 bids, which demonstrates the interest in each home.
"Our Housing Officers face the difficult task of allocating homes as fairly as possible, using well-established criteria to calculate each applicant's housing need.
"Mr Darkin, or any individual in need of housing support, is welcome to speak to our officers for advice and guidance."