Homeless HGV driver discrimination claims

Hard-working Roger Filston has been homeless for eight months following the break-up of his marriage and has been sleeping on friends couches and in cheap hotels when he can afford it. Picture: Michael Gillen
Hard-working Roger Filston has been homeless for eight months following the break-up of his marriage and has been sleeping on friends couches and in cheap hotels when he can afford it. Picture: Michael Gillen

A homeless HGV driver and instructor has said the system is discriminating against him because he is employed and has mental health issues.

Roger Filston has been trying to find a home for eight months following the break-up of his marriage, but due to his circumstances he cannot afford the supported and assisted accommodation Falkirk Council has offered him.

The 48-year-old has battled problems with alcohol and depression due to the pressure of the split which, coupled with knee problems and owning a dog, has meant properties he has been eligible for haven’t been suitable.

Mr Filston said: “The council offered me accommodation at the Castings, but my doctor wrote a letter to them stating it wouldn’t be beneficial for me.

“Because I work, it would also have cost me over £700 per month which I simply cannot afford. The other assisted accommodation they offered in Grangemouth would have cost me even more.

“These places also do not accept dogs, neither does other places I looked at in the private sector so I couldn’t get any of those.

“I have bid for around 20 houses but haven’t got any of them. I think that if I was jobless I would have something by now. I’ve been without a house for eight months now, sleeping on friends’ couches or in a cheap hotel when I can afford it and it’s really taking its toll. I just feel the system is against me.

“I work hard and just want somewhere I can call home.”

SNP election candidate for Falkirk North David Alexander has represented Mr Filston in meetings and says he has “major issues” with how it has been handled.

He said: “I am very concerned indeed by the manner in which Mr Filston’s case has highlighted major issues within the homeless and allocations processes within Falkirk Council. What the outcome has been is the demonstration of the lack of openness and transparency within that process.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are sympathetic to Mr Filston’s situation however we must stress that we have made several offers of supported and temporary accommodation that have been declined.

“We have asked that he widen his choices a little to see if other properties in the area match his needs. He has also been given advice about renting in the private sector. We will continue to offer our support if required.”