Through The Keyhole
7.58 am. I’ve just woke up. I had a night at my flat to try and recharge my batteries and slept for nine hours. I’ve been trying to reflect on the last four weeks but it’s too early to get any perspective on the task of turning a shithole into Steven’s forever home.
People keep telling me that I should feel a sense of achievement. A sense of pride. I don’t really feel that. I really like the flat. I love the cosy quirkiness. It’s great watching Steven marking his territory and getting used to his new surroundings. “Dad – I’m going up to the toilet. (Laughs). No more stairs. Can’t go up to the toilet”. It’s been bloody hard work and I don’t think pride comes into it.
We’ve had such fantastic support. Jayne and Wayne have done more than I could ever thank them for. The support workers have gone beyond the call of duty. All those wonderful people who gave money through gofundme have helped enormously to create Steven’s new home. And it’s been great how some of the people who’ve contributed to the move have really seemed to have understood Steven and pulled out the stops – Maxine & Debbie the gardener’s, Roy the decorator, Luke the removal man, Bradley the TV aerial man. Normal people with an understanding and humanity that we seldom get with social care services.
The council continue to create daily hurdles. I’ve had two letter about non payment of rent. Housing Finances won’t speak to Housing Benefit, so I have to act as an unnecessary middle man between the two. Tenancy Management have sent two nagging emails about the new Pay to Stay initiative and want Steven’s income details that I supplied to their colleagues just four weeks ago. The Housing Manager was meant to visit last Wednesday to discuss outstanding issues (broken outlet pipe, gap in front door, light in bathroom that keeps going out) but she didn’t turn up and we haven’t heard a peep from her since. I keep thinking of Sir James Munby’s observation that the State is the servant and not the master. He’s right but old fashioned. His statement presupposes there are services. But the last four weeks have shown that there aren’t any services anymore. Just lots of people trying to be very important and justify their jobs. Apart from the social worker who has been a great advocate, everyone else has been a time wasting hindrance.
Steven’s housing advocate is still fighting for him to be given a lifelong tenancy. Even though he’s been in temporary accommodation for three years, the council’s policy is that all new tenants are on a “probationary” year. It’s nonsense, of course. Another pointless policy designed to let you know where the power really lies. We’ve got an appeal in. But the damage is done. How can anyone ever feel really settled? In a year’s time, will the £7k that I’ve spent building Steven a forever home be money wasted? Steven talks about “living in the Cowley house forever and ever” but I don’t know whether he believes that. Since he was transitioned into adult services 8 years ago, he’s been moved five times, each time the move has been determined by the State.
So for now, we’ll just admire the view of the green (both inside and out) and get on with trying to live a meaningful, happy, fulfilled life.
And rely on Mr Bean to look over us: