A woman with cancer said she’s lived in a rotten apartment with broken windows and no fire alarms for seven years. Jackie Carr has lived in her home since 2012 and says she has been complaining to Hackney Council since 2015 about her housing issues. She told MyLondon that she feels completely neglected and fears that problems with her home will kill her.
She said, “I was asking for help from the council, but it went unnoticed. They kept pledging repairs but absolutely nothing happened. Our windows are all completely smashed, one of them smashed and none of them can be opened. It led to dampness and mildew because the windows were pouring and it didn’t seem to be Someone cares.”
In 2013 Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she should try to avoid stress. Last year she got all clear, but this year she received news of the cancer returning to her lungs, and she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
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Jackie said, “I feel like the council is ignoring and bullying me. My mental health is out of control and my son had a breakdown last year because of what we went through. I tried to commit suicide and then I still had someone from the council come and bully me on my doorstep.”
She added that her powerful chemical treatments meant she struggled to muster the strength to fight the council over something she said should have been ironed out years ago. She and her son were exposed to more stress after a fire nearly broke out on the property in 2018 and woke up to the smell of smoke instead of a fire alarm.
She said, “In 2018, I had a stroke that left me disabled. It left me with problems with balance, coordination and memory loss. I put a pizza in the oven and went to bed and left it.”
“It was around 12:30 p.m. and my dog was barking to wake me and my son. We opened our bedroom doors and there was smoke.
“We tried to open the windows but we couldn’t open the windows because they were jammed and the problem wasn’t fixed so we had to keep the front door open until 2:30am for it to air.”
Jackie said Hackney Council apologized for not installing smoke alarms on the property and advised her to contact the fire department. The problem was not corrected four years later, after Jackie said the fire brigade concluded emergency exits had failed to assess the risks.
Hackney Council says they will replace her windows “as a matter of urgency” and move Jackie to a hotel temporarily while work is done. Jackie told MyLondon that she is currently staying with her daughter.
She told MyLondon, “They say the work is supposed to go on, but there has been no effort to move me going forward. The start date hasn’t been confirmed so I don’t hope it will. It became unbearable especially living with damp and mold when I had lung cancer. .
“I stay at my daughter’s house a lot because of the humidity because I worry about what it’s doing to my already deteriorating health.”
Steve Waddington, strategic director of housing for Hackney Council, said: “We’ve worked with Ms. Carr for a number of years and during that time have made a large number of reforms. We regret the delay in responding to Ms. Carr’s latest repair request.
“We are aware of Ms. Carr’s health conditions and are working with her to try to resolve any outstanding repair issues as quickly as possible. We spoke to Ms. Carr last week and confirmed that we would promptly replace her windows and, given her health conditions, provide hotel accommodation while work is complete.”
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