Desperate 96-year-old woman stuck in hospital for 100 days due to housing shortage

William and Sheila Glass, 94 and 96, have been separated in a 'heartbreaking nightmare' due to housing shortages. (SWNS)
William and Sheila Glass, 94 and 96, have been separated in a 'heartbreaking nightmare' due to housing shortages. (SWNS)

A 96-year-old stuck in hospital and separated from her husband for 100 days due to housing shortages has pleaded to be allowed home.

Sheila Glass broke her neck during a fall at home and was sent to Liskeard Hospital in Cornwall.

But even though she was declared medically fit to leave 100 days ago, the couple's home has been declared unsafe by occupational therapists, meaning she has been told she can't go back there.

The couple have been put on the Cornwall housing register but a shortage means she cannot leave hospital. Instead, she has been stuck there while her husband of 74 years, William, has had to move to his daughter's home.

William and Sheila Glass, 94 and 96 respectively, are reunited during a hospital visit. A couple in their 90s who have rarely ever been apart have been separated in a
Sheila's family has warned she is getting more depressed and that their lives are at a standstill. (SWNS)

Shelia said in a video about her situation: "I have been here 100 days and I just want to be home with my husband."

She adds: 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'' next to her husband, who she has previously rarely been parted from apart from when he was away serving in the Royal Navy.

Cornwall Council has cited "extreme pressure" as to why it is unable to find suitable accommodation.

Glass was her husband's sole carer before her fall and the couple's son-in-law, Mike Adams, says the family are becoming "increasingly frustrated" at the "very cruel" proceedings that have left them in despair.

He said: "Sheila is getting more depressed and our lives are at a standstill and we took the videos as a last hope of maybe somebody in the council or somebody who knew somebody seeing it.

William visits Sheila in hospital. A couple in their 90s who have rarely ever been apart have been separated in a
The couple have rarely ever been apart until now. (SWNS)

"Her mental health is really suffering after being institutionalised all this time - the hospital staff all love her because she is such a character, but they are getting very very worried and concerned for her wellbeing. She's even watering the plants for other patients, she's going stir-crazy!

"Me and my wife are worn out with all of this and have had to just keep all of our plans to one side. It's just absolute cruelty and bureaucracy gone mad."

The most recent update for the family was three weeks ago - when Adams says they were contacted by Cornwall Council with a flat for the couple to live in that was the 'ideal place' for the couple, and within sight of Mike's own home.

However, complications have arisen over development work taking place in the building - which has further delayed the new housing arrangements.

"Work is being done on the corridor and instead of letting them move in on a weekend and just keep themselves to themselves, the council are saying it is technically classed as a work site and there are rules they have to follow.

"We said this was fine, not a problem, Sheila and Bill would be more than happy to abide by the rules - they would just be overjoyed to be reunited and sit and watch TV. But as they are classified as new tenants there are different rules.

Photograph of William and Sheila Glass on their wedding day. A couple in their 90s who have rarely ever been apart have been separated in a
William and Sheila Glass have been married for 74 years. (SWNS)

He added: "It's beyond cruel - they say 'this is what you can have but we can't tell you or let you know when you can move in."

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: "Cornwall Council continues to experience extreme and unprecedented pressures on housing and there are currently 27,000 households on our social housing register.

"We will prioritise those most in need. However, there is high demand, and we can only provide housing when it becomes available."

The couple's plight highlights what campaigners have labelled a housing crisis that should be a priority in the general election.

An open letter published on the Shelter website to the leaders of the major parties in advance of the 4 July vote has been signed by over 36,000 people. It says: "We write to tell you that at the general election, our votes will go to the party that will build the social homes and create the fairer renting system that will end the housing emergency.

"Successive governments have failed to address England’s housing emergency. Not enough social homes have been built. People across the country have been pushed into a dangerous private rented sector where over-priced housing continues to take a devastating toll on our physical and mental health. It’s no coincidence that homelessness continues to rise. This is England’s housing emergency and it’s getting worse."

Housing charities have re-stated their long-called-for commitment to build 90,000 social homes a year.

Research from Shelter suggests that almost three-quarters (70%) of social tenants said they could not afford to live in their local area were it not for their access to social housing. The polling, carried out by YouGov for Shelter in April, suggested that more than two-thirds (69%) of parents said social housing had given their children a stable home, while 43% of social tenants said it had meant they could live close to their support networks.

A coalition of charities, businesses and campaigners have called for political parties to commit to building a new generation of social homes to end the housing emergency.

In an open letter, they stated: “The construction of social rent homes has fallen off a cliff. We built over 200,000 social rent homes in 1954, but last year, we delivered just 9,560. In fact, we are seeing a drastic net loss of social rent homes. In the last decade alone, our social housing stock has shrunk by hundreds of thousands.

“The lack of social housing in this country is driving a housing emergency. Across the country, 1.3 million households sit on social housing waiting lists.

“There are over 145,000 children homeless in temporary accommodation, with nowhere to play or do their schoolwork and whole families living in a single room. Meanwhile, a private renter receives a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice every three minutes.”

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “Now that a general election has been called we cannot afford to waste any time. All political parties must commit to building genuinely affordable social homes – we need 90,000 a year over 10 years to end the housing emergency for good.”