Handicapped Exmouth man could be evicted from home

A 43-year-old Exmouth man who relies on smell and touch to navigate around his home, faces eviction from the bungalow where he has lived for the past ten years. Neil Gorfin is severely disabled, blind and deaf – a person, described by his father, who need

A 43-year-old Exmouth man who relies on smell and touch to navigate around his home, faces eviction from the bungalow where he has lived for the past ten years.

Neil Gorfin is severely disabled, blind and deaf - a person, described by his father, who needs familiarity in his life and struggles to cope with change.

His parents, Tom and Judith, of Caroline Close, are seeking legal advice to block the closure of Cornerstones, in St Johns Road, which Neil shares, with three other disabled people.

Mr Gorfin said: "He knows every corner and door in that bungalow.


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"He is aware of who is in front of him because he has senses that we don't even know about. If you suddenly rip that away from him, where does he go from there?"

The bungalow, as well as Forton House, in St Johns Road, and The Lodge, in Exeter Road, is currently run by Premier Living Service, a body affiliated to the NHS Partnership Trust.

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The trust, however, has announced it expects Premier Living to be commissioned from other providers, belonging to the private sector, in early 2010, which could result in the homes' closing.

Mr Gorfin said the quality of residents' lives depended on the stability of care and location. "If any of that changes, the stress levels are incredible because this has happened in the past.

"They have only been there (at Cornerstones) ten years and have had other moves to cope with."

Mr Gorfin believes one of the reasons Cornerstones could close is to solve the Government's national debt. The home was purpose-built 10 years ago for people with special needs.

He added: "There is obviously a hidden agenda. There is a lot of NHS property around there and gradually it will all be eliminated. They will sell that land and build houses."

Mr Gorfin said he had attended several meetings over the last year with people from the NHS and Devon Learning Disability Health and Social Care Partnership about the issue.

"Before Christmas, we were told that come what may, if the issue isn't solved by March 31, they will all be pushed out into temporary accommodation while a resolution is found."

Carolyn Elliott, assistant director of Devon Learning Disability Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "We have worked very closely with Mr Gorfin over recent weeks.

"We fully appreciate how unsettling and distressing the prospect of change is for both him and his son.

"We will continue to do everything we can to include him as we move towards finalising the best possible arrangements for his son's future care and support and are fully committed to finding a package of care that meets all of his son's needs.

"It is important to remember, however, that the changes we are making reflect the direction of travel nationally in terms of providing high quality services that support independence and are more tailored to people's individual wants and needs.

"Unfortunately, until this matching process is completed, we do not have answers to some questions, such as the long-term future of the current sites.

"We are all too aware that this uncertainty can cause worry some people and their families, as well as the staff of Premier Living.

"As soon as we are able to do so, we will share further information and we are hopeful of doing this within the next few weeks.

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