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Tufnell Park mum’s three-year wait for ground floor flat

'It's important Islington residents understand the scope of the housing crisis,' says Town Hall in response

21 September, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Shereene McCready has to manipulate Darcey’s pushchair down stairs when leaving her home

A FRUSTRATED mother of a girl diagnosed with a rare genetic condition said she has become isolated while waiting three years for a ground-floor council house.

Shereene McCready has to carry her daughter Darcey Styles down stairs in her pushchair whenever they want to leave their second-floor flat on the Brecknock estate as well as carrying the heavy, life-saving equipment for the three-year-old.

Darcey was diagnosed at seven months with Dravet syndrome, which can mean she has dozens of seizures a day and requires round-the-clock care.

She is unable to travel in the lift at Graham House because of the risk it poses if she has a seizure, and has to share a double bed with her mother in the one-bed flat.

The council said it is working with Ms McCready, who has lived in the flat since she was 19, to find her a new home but said it was “incredibly important” residents understand the scope of the housing crisis.

Ms McCready, 28, said: “I’ve bid on so many properties and I’ve not had one viewing in three years. I have to carry her in her pram down the stairs, and the suction machine and oxygen.

“It all weighs about two stone and it’s really damaged my back. I feel angry, let down and hurt that we are living like this.”

An occupational therapist visited her home in July to assess Darcey’s needs. She said the flat was overcrowded, and they need another room to safely store the equipment. The visitor also stated Darcey cannot use the lift after medical guidance around “seizure management”.

The report reads: “Mother and child are effectively housebound unless a family member or neighbour is present to assist with managing child, equipment and buggy up/down communal flights of stairs.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader and Islington North MP, wrote to the Town Hall late last year, requesting they review her points.

Ms McCready added: “It’s just so hard, I’m so sad because any mum wants their child to have everything in life.”

The council has a waiting list of 14,000 people for 1,100 properties. Many other high-priority cases are bidding who require family-size accommodation.

Councillor Diarmaid Ward, the Town Hall’s housing chief, said: “We will continue to work with Ms McCready to find the best possible accommodation for her and her family.

“London is in the grip of a massive housing crisis and Islington is feeling this deeply. Demand for social housing massively exceeds supply and this means all residents, even those who are living in accommodation which is unsuitable for them, can experience significant delays in moving.

“We know this is extremely difficult and frustrating, especially for people who are in the greatest need.

“It’s incredibly important that all Islington residents understand that this is the scope of the housing crisis because it has enormous effects on people’s lives.”

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