IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Disabled woman left feeling ‘abandoned’

Cerebral palsy sufferer waiting for news of her Highbury home

23 November, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Chantal Hac has had letters from bailiffs

A SEVERELY disabled woman has been left in the dark about when she can move back to her home of 20 years after she was forced out because of rising damp.

Chantal Hac, 51, was moved from her Peabody housing association flat in Highbury after it was wrecked by damp and a rodent infestation in January. As previously reported in the Tribune, water poured through her floorboards and her carer was forced to use a hose to wash her.

After spending months in a hotel, Ms Hac, who suffers from cerebral palsy and relies on a carer to lift her out of bed, was moved to a flat in Manor Park which she says she is unable to leave on her own because of a lack of adaptations.

“I haven’t heard anything about my old house, what the status of the works are and whether I can go back there. I was told I would be updated every month but I haven’t heard anything for a long time. I feel abandoned,” she said.

Ms Hac said the steep steps to the front door and the narrow pathway from her backdoor made her new home unsuitable for a wheelchair user.

“I need more adaptations made to the house. I can’t leave the flat on my own. I want to go to the shops and meet the neighbours but at the moment my wheelchair might easily tip over outside,” she said.

Ms Hac said she loved her former home in St John’s Court, Highbury Park, which she moved to in 1997. The flat was managed by housing association Family Mosaic which merged with Peabody in July last year.

“I can’t stay here [Manor Park]. I’ve lived in Islington all my life and knew all the neighbours who were my friends. My bathroom here is quite difficult to use because it’s a tight squeeze. Because of that I don’t shower as much here,” she said.

Ms Hac said Peabody had promised to pay her council tax at her new flat but she has received multiple letters from bailiffs demanding payment.

“I’m so scared, every time the door knocks that they’ve come to take all of my things. I try to call Peabody for help but nothing is working,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Peabody said: “We’ve been in regular contact with Miss Hac, and are sorry to hear of her concerns. We’re working to resolve these as soon as we can, and will be covering the council tax bill as promised. The delay was due to the bill not being sent to us. We’ll contact Miss Hac to talk through her adaptation request.

“We made sure the property was fully adapted to meet her needs before she moved in, and are happy to look at further im­provements. We are waiting for the final report from a specialist contractor on the reason for the flooding in her home and what options will be available to address this. We will talk through the findings with Miss Hac when we have them.”

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