Update Monday 6 August:
Am a little tired of being ignored by councils, so I tweeted the Islington council leader and the member for housing, and asked them to look into Ann’s situation:
— Kate B (@hangbitch) August 6, 2018
The member for housing said he would:
I’ll take a look at this this afternoon and come straight back to you
— Diarmaid Ward (@diarmaid_w) August 6, 2018
I understand that the council has called Ann today. That’s a start, at least. We push on.
I am still waiting for responses to other questions I asked – for example, I want to know how many disabled people are stuck in flats they can’t easily leave and are waiting for accessible housing.
More updates soon.
Original post (Friday 3 August):
Islington woman Ann Sparling, 47, is trapped in her fourth floor council flat.
Ann has serious osteoarthritis in both of her knees. There is no lift in her building. She must walk down and up four flights of stairs if she wants to leave her flat.
Ann says that she finds climbing the steps impossible. So, she is trapped.
She lives in fear of fire. Ann says the fire alarm in the building went off recently, and “I was terrified about not being able to get out.”
Ann’s been asking the council to move her to an accessible flat for three years. Nothing’s happened. I asked the council for comment on this situation on Monday. Nothing’s happened there either.
The council hasn’t even sent me a general statement.
I want to know how many sick or disabled people are trapped in this potentially lethal way and what is going to be done.
Ann relies on her two adolescent children to bring the shopping and run other chores. I guess it will be up to them to get Ann out if there’s a fire.
Ann’s own doctors insist that she be moved. They say she can’t cope with the stairs and must be rehoused. Her surgeons even delayed knee surgery last year, because Ann didn’t want to return to her fourth floor flat to recuperate.
Ann reports that the council has told her there are no suitable properties available.
Ann also says communicating with the council is a pain. Emails go unrecorded and calls to housing options go unanswered.
I know that feeling. I asked the council about Ann’s situation and council communications on Monday. I’d heard nothing by Wednesday, so called the press office again. An officer said the council had to check that Ann would permit the council to discuss her details with me. The officer said a general statement might be forthcoming. It hasn’t been. I’ve heard nothing.
I am sick of this.
I say it again.
How many disabled people around the country are stuck and isolated in unpleasant and downright dangerous situations like this?
Have we learned nothing from fire disasters such as Grenfell – you know, making sure that people are safely housed and can get out?
Why do councils refuse to respond?
Somebody at Islington council needs to get in touch with me.