I have been helping and supporting an elderly lady called Sylvia who lives in Swinton. Sylvia came to me for help as I was recommended to her by others. Sylvia was having a terrible time with her home which is rented off City West Housing Trust. The property has a serious damp problem and also Sylvia, who is in poor health has been subjected to anti-social behaviour by local youths & neighbours.
Sylvia has been in her home for over two years and immediately had problems. Her bedroom was covered in damp. This serious housing problem damaged much of her property, clothes and most seriously her health. It took City West Housing Trust nearly 12 months to come and attempt to sort the problem out. Sylvia lives in a flat and so has neighbours living above her who refequently cause serious anti-social behaviour which has required the attention of local police. Sylvia lives on a corner flat and has therefore youths congregating where she lives causing her problems.
All this stress has had a massive impact on Sylvia's life and health. Her physical and mental health have deteriorated. Sylvia's mental health is such that she cannot live there anymore. Sylvia has attempted to get her landlord to move her but they refused. Salford City Council also refused too.
In desperation to get out Sylvia sought the help of her MP Hazel Blears, local councillor's, Eric Pickles (Secretary of State) and Sylvia even wrote to the Queen. After months of writing letters, phone calls and the lot City West Housing Trust eventually agreed to transfer Sylvia but then said she would only be moved when a suitable property became vacant.
Sylvia said that staff at City West Housing Trust have been rude to her, put the phone down on her and made her life a misery. Sylvia often telephoned me in tears asking for my help. An elderly lady who is not a relative or even a friend as such in desperation rang me on many occasions upset at her treatment by her landlord.
What City West Housing Trust did not take into account was Sylvia's deteriorating mental health. This obviously contributed to the way Sylvia acted on occasions and instead of realising that she needed help they just treated her very badly instead.
So months went by and no offer of suitable accommodation. In the end Sylvia had enough and needed to do something. I said to Sylvia that as the Advertiser wont publish her story (probably because of the advertising fees they get from City West) we had to make her story public ourselves. An online Facebook campaign and a 15,000 leaflet drop in SWinton. A facebook page was set up called Sylvia's story and within 2 days over 500 people joined the cause.
Within 30 minutes of the page being set up Sylvia received a telephone call from City West Housing threatening her with legal action. On the same day later on she received a second telephone call from City West Housing Trust again threatening her with legal action.
How disgusting can you get to threaten an elderly lady, frail, not in good health, under stress with legal action. I supported her through this and said I would go to court with her and take them on but how could they do that ?
On the second day City West Housing Trust then confirm that they had a suitable vacancy and had one for her already and asked her wasnt she told. How convenient ! No she was not and in fact only a week earlier a housing officer spoke to her nastily and put the phone down saying "We will let you know when we have a suitable property".
So the campaign was up and running and after two threats of court action they tell Sylvia she has a sheltered scheme place and this was planned. But if it was why wasnt Sylvia told in the first place so that at least she had some peace of mind ? At worse there was no property for definate for her and at best they knew but didnt tell her to prolong and cause Sylvia further agony. I think the latter is probably the case which is an appalling way to treat someone in distress.
This organisation in my opinion is the most appalling organisation I have ever come across. In my opinion if you are prepared to stand up for yourself they deliberately make decisions to affect the quality of your life in a detrimantal way. If you are nice to them they cannot do enough for you.
Sylvia is now waiting for her sheltered scheme place to become ready. Sylvia is pleased at the outcome and is delighted by the support I have given her. I just hope that Sylvia can now have a peaceful, enjoyable time in her twilight years in her new home for the rest of her life. Its been a pleasure to be able to help and support this elderly lady take on this appalling organisation to get them to act to sort out Sylvia's housing conditions which have affected her so badly.