Ealing Council's decision to house a family in a million-pound home costing taxpayers £12,000 a month caused a national outcry last week, while a new report reveals that 94 per cent of people on the borough's waiting last have almost no chance of getting a home.
If the controversy over the seven-bedroom house handed over to the Saindi family was not evidence enough of Ealing's chronic housing shortage, figures revealed in a report this week speak for themselves.
By Ealing Council's own reckoning, at least nine out of ten names on the 20,000-strong waiting list have "virtually no chance" of getting their hands on a flat with two or more bedrooms.
And with around 7,000 bids every fortnight for the 20 or 30 homes that become available in the same period, there is clearly now a massive housing shortfall which needs to be addressed.
The council's justification for moving Mrs Saindi and her six children into a £1.2 million Acton private rented house in Acton - at a cost to the taxpayer of £12,000 a month - is that it had to follow rules and agree to rents which have been set nationally.
Eldest son Jawad Saindi branded Ealing "dumb" for taking the unusual step.
But critics say it is all too easy for the council to get people off its waiting list by pushing them into private sector accommodation which is then paid for by central Government.
In the meantime, thousands are left waiting with little hope, locked in a system which the local authority acknowledges is confusing, frustrating and misleading, and with little prospect of more homes being built or refurbished.
Plans to make the housing allocation system simpler and fairer were revealed in a report to cabinet this week which said the existing four-band scheme is "complicated and difficult to explain."
Only those lucky enough to be classified as band A have a realistic chance of rehousing, it said, with thousands of others in the three lower bands left with "unrealistic expectations".
It also revealed that despite the chronic lack of housing, there are more than 500 "under-occupier" families on the council's books who have too much space and want to move into smaller accommodation. Persuading them to move could unlock many more of the type of large flats which are in very high demand.
Regardless of the changes to the fine print, however, critics believe the real problems stem from years of unwillingness on the part of the council to improve and expand its housing stock.
Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush MP Andy Slaughter said: "They can tinker with it the system all they like, it's a question of supply and demand. The system is a huge con. People who are on band D are effectively not on any list at all.
"At the end of the day there are not enough properties, which is due to a combination of disposals, right-to-buy and failure to build, which has been a problem in Ealing for as long as I can remember.
"If you look at somewhere like the South Acton Estate where the development has been stalled for ten years, they're decanting people, leaving buildings half empty and not building any new stock."
And he said the current problems will be exacerbated by the "shambolic" war between Ealing Council and Ealing Homes, which has effectively frozen £50 million of cash set aside for home improvements while the council investigates allegations of improperly awarded renovation contracts.
"Ealing Council is letting down thousands of tenants and people with housing need who they have a statutory duty to help," said Mr Slaughter. "They are either incapable of doing so or they just don't care."
A severely disabled woman from Southall said she has been wrestling with Ealing Council for three years as she tries to get her house adapted for her needs.
Mother-of-three Julie Hammocks, who had both legs amputated and had a mechanical mitral valve fitted in her heart, lives in Wylie Road and is currently receiving physiotherapy at Clayponds Hospital.
A diabetic, she suffered from ulcers on her legs and eventually had to have both of them amputated after contracting gangrene.
She says she has been in a deadlock with the council over the last three years - from when her first leg was removed - to get her house adapted.
Mrs Hammocks said: "This has made me feel terrible. The occupational therapists here have told me that I can't go home because I wouldn't be able to get my wheelchair in through the front doors.
"I wouldn't be able to get upstairs so that means I wouldn't be able to use the bathroom or the toilet. I'm living in the hospital right now so I don't know when I'll be able to go home, but I want this sorted out."
She said the council contacted her 23-year-old son, Kevin, on Friday and gave the family the option of three properties in West Ealing - but she doesn't believe any of them will be suitable.
She said: "We also have the option of bidding online for a property, but my husband and children are all busy during the day and I can't use a computer while I'm in hospital, and that's going to make it extremely difficult."
A council spokeswoman said: "We have been in contact with Mrs Hammocks to discuss her needs and there are a number of options, which the family is currently considering. We have been working closely with the family and will continue to offer our support in making sure their housing needs are met."
Struggling to look after an eight-year-old boy with behavioural difficulties and another 11-year-old son, Stephanie Leiba had to give up her work as a nurse and go on income support.
She was housed by Ealing Council in a two-bedroom cottage in Boston Road, Hanwell, three years ago, but claims the leaky property is now uninhabitable and unfit for her needs.
The 40-year-old wants a three-bedroom home but is languishing in band D on the council's housing scale - and like more than 9,000 other households in the same band, her family has little chance of being rehoused.
"This needs to be sorted out," said Mrs Leiba. "The property I am in is a tip.
"It's damp and when it rains the water comes through the roof and wets the stairs and creates a foul smell. Most of the furniture is ruined because I've had to throw it out.
"The house is not big enough for me and my kids.
"If the lady who was given the £12,000 a month house can have it, why can't I have it? It's unfair.
"I've been here for three years and I've been bidding for a new place for six months.
"They're constantly telling me that they can't do anything about it. They say I'm in band D, so I'm not going to get anywhere. What's the point of even bidding?"
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