Supporting individuals in crisis

Joining forces to make a family home safe
ACS professionals teamed up in order to rid Mrs W’s home of rats and unsafe levels of hoarding.

Out of control hoarding. No working toilet. Rats everywhere. Mrs W, her husband and their daughter were living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Despite being a four-bed house, the family were confined to the lounge, where they all slept in armchairs.


District nurses regularly visited to check Mrs W and her daughter were correctly managing their diabetes. And it was only when the nurses refused to provide care, the extent of their situation became clear.


Facing a range of challenges

We initially began to act for Mrs W before the Court of Protection. Social services had stepped in and the family were separated, with Mrs W and her husband in one care home and their daughter placed at another.


Mrs W is diagnosed with dementia, her husband suffers from a degenerative disease and their daughter has a learning disability. All three family members lack capacity to make decisions about their welfare and finances. As a result of this, Mrs W and her family were not allowed to leave their respective care homes.


Mrs W contacted the Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) team as she wished to return home with her family. We issued an application in the Court of Protection to challenge Mrs W’s deprivation in the care home. The team also pushed social services to make robust plans for Mrs W to return home. However, due to the issues at the family home significant work was needed for this to happen.


Mrs W lacked capacity to manage her property and affairs, so no one had the legal authority to approve work on the house. Donna Holmes, partner at ACS, was appointed as deputy for Mrs W and the local authority were appointed for Mrs W’s husband.


A substantial council grant

Once deputies were appointed, contractors could be instructed. From buying new white goods to replacing electrics, the work was quoted at £15,000-£20,000. The ACS team were worried these significant costs would be a barrier to Mrs W and her family returning home. But, by working closely with the local authority, we secured a £15,000 grant and the work could begin.


ACS instructed a clearance company, then pest control allowing deep cleaning, gardening and other work to go ahead. During this time, ACS also worked hard in the welfare proceedings to make sure Mrs W and her daughter could go out into the community when they wanted to.


One step closer to returning home

The ACS team worked closely with a range of professionals, including social workers and the local pharmacy, to support this family. With the house clean and a robust care plan in place, they could return home safely. Mrs W and her daughter lived in their home on a trial basis before Christmas, and social services are now reassessing the situation.


Mrs W and her family have always lived together in their rural property, with their own way of life. Getting this family unit back together, respecting their values and beliefs while keeping them safe was essential.


Puja Desai, solicitor at ACS says;

"Cases like this are difficult as they’re very real. Seeing the condition of the property and knowing a family were living in those conditions was tough. But the reward you get for helping them is invaluable. To get a family back in their home is why I do my job."
Puja Desai, solicitor at ACS


Puja Desai
0121 214 3483
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