Disabled and homeless: Dad forced to live in van at campsite

DESPERATE: Disabled former builder Tony Lyndon has spent three weeks stuck in the driver's seat of his van.

DESPERATE: Disabled former builder Tony Lyndon has spent three weeks stuck in the driver's seat of his van.

First published in Ammanford news
Last updated

A 64-year-old disabled former builder has been pushed to the brink of suicide after being left to spend his life sitting in the driver’s seat of his van.

Homeless Tony Lyndon, who cannot walk or stand, has spent the past two weeks bolt upright behind the wheel of his Sprinter van at a campsite in Llandyfan after being told he cannot get help finding anywhere to live.

Tony cannot even lie down to sleep and only manages to snatch short naps throughout the night.

The dad-of-one, who had four vertebrae fused together following a spinal operation eight years ago, is forced to drive the 12-mile round-trip to Ammanford every time he needs to use the toilet because the campsite has no disabled facilities.

“I have nowhere to go and I just do not know what else to do,” said Tony.

“I have tried to kill myself twice, but I have managed to get myself over that now. I want to live but it is so tough.”

Tony previously lived with his partner and their eight-year-old daughter in privately-rented accommodation in Gwaun cae Gurwen, but when the couple split 12 months ago mother and daughter moved to Hastings in south-east England.

Tony, who has lived in Carmarthenshire for more than 20 years, initially moved to Sussex to be close to his daughter but found it impossible to find anywhere to live.

“I stayed down there in the van for a few months and spent the worst of the winter storms parked on the seafront at Hastings – it was horrible; absolutely terrifying,” said Tony.

“But the worst part was spending Christmas all alone in this van. I have got no other family. It was the worst of times.”

After reaching his lowest ebb, Tony decided to return to Wales and Carmarthenshire county council were able to place him in emergency hotel accommodation for two nights.

“I always wanted to come back to Wales, but moved because of my daughter,” he said.

“After my partner and daughter left I knew I would not be able to afford the house at Gwaun cae Gurwen so I followed them to Sussex, but when I came back I was homeless.

"The council found me emergency hotel accommodation for two nights, but when I went to see them on the Monday they said they could not help because I had given up the house and deliberately made myself homeless.

“The council staff I have spoken with have all been really nice and I understand they have their rules, but I just want somewhere to live.

“I’ve been lucky because Bob, the owner of Llandyfan Camping and Fishing, has allowed me to stay here. It is really kind of him and without this I do not know where I would be now, but I cannot stay here sitting in this van forever.

“I’ve been looking for privately-rented accommodation, but private houses do not have disabled and wheelchair access so I’m completely stuck.

“I just want somewhere to live so I can feel like a real person again.”

A spokesman for Carmarthenshire county council said: “We spoke to Mr Lyndon after arranging two nights of emergency accommodation on his behalf at the end of March. We appreciate that Mr Lyndon finds himself in difficult circumstances, and as such have offered him advice and support so that he is able to find more suitable longer-term accommodation.”

Comments (1)

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11:55am Sat 12 Apr 14

Meirion says...

they said they could not help because I had given up the house and deliberately made myself homeless.

This is a quote voluntary caseworkers here very often.
People lose their homes for varying reasons repossessions redundancy.
Appreciating this is an individual cases: but individual cases collectively gives you a pattern. From patterns you can build pictures.
I would like to task Carmarthenshire Housing to publish their criterias as to where within that criteria the justification to render "a person deliberately made himself or herself homeless".
What are the criterias please?
We live in a society of some do some don't.
I will just take a repossession as an example, a mortgage could be in the region of £200. That person / family may be rehoused through no fault of their own and the Local Authority will pay a private landlord up to £450 for rehousing. Private landlords have a monopoly on the back of the unfortunate.
There are cuts across the board however the balance of costs savings are not being seriously looked at. Are they?
Perhaps this may trigger transparent criterias and clearer understanding.
[quote] they said they could not help because I had given up the house and deliberately made myself homeless. [unquote] This is a quote voluntary caseworkers here very often. People lose their homes for varying reasons repossessions redundancy. Appreciating this is an individual cases: but individual cases collectively gives you a pattern. From patterns you can build pictures. I would like to task Carmarthenshire Housing to publish their criterias as to where within that criteria the justification to render "a person deliberately made himself or herself homeless". What are the criterias please? We live in a society of some do some don't. I will just take a repossession as an example, a mortgage could be in the region of £200. That person / family may be rehoused through no fault of their own and the Local Authority will pay a private landlord up to £450 for rehousing. Private landlords have a monopoly on the back of the unfortunate. There are cuts across the board however the balance of costs savings are not being seriously looked at. Are they? Perhaps this may trigger transparent criterias and clearer understanding. Meirion
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