A SINGLE mother, who has been waiting to be rehomed for almost two years, claims her housing situation has led to her being signed off from work with stress six times.
Siobhan Connell, of Jubilee Court, in Handforth, has been waiting to be relocated to a new property since July 2015.
The 31-year-old, who has lived in the village since she was a child, informed property management firm Contour Homes that she would need more suitable accommodation when she was pregnant with Lucas, her now 14-month-old son.
Siobhan struggles to use the 92cm by 62cm lift in Jubilee Court to take both a car seat and pushchair down from her seventh-floor apartment, and was forced to stay family or friends at times after Lucas was born.
On a number of occasions Siobhan has even been forced to use the stairs when the lift is out of order.
After contacting the firm, councillors and the housing ombudsman, she is still in the same situation.
“Nothing has ever really happened,” she told the Guardian.
“I spoke to Cllr Barry Burkhill about it, who then contacted Contour, but it didn’t get anywhere.
“I spoke to the housing ombudsman and was advised to go through the complaints procedure. I lodged a complaint in November but only had a response in January.
“Contour has three lists depending housing needs, and then people get assigned flats for their needs, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”
After returning from maternity leave last autumn, Siobhan has been signed off from work on six occasions.
She was also diagnosed with Crohns last November, which doctors have told her are a result of stress, and Siobhan believes this has been caused by her housing situation.
“I explained to the doctors that I work myself up about it,” she said.
“A few weeks ago Lucas was too sick to go to nursery and I felt better because I knew we didn’t have to use the lift.
“The next morning when he was back in had a headache and started being sick.
“Thankfully my boss is a friend from school and he has been so understanding about it, but I know I wouldn’t be so fortunate in another job.”
Siobhan believes that other residents could be spending less time on the waiting list before being moved to their new property – including one of her friends, who was relocated four months after giving birth.
On one occasion Siobhan was offered a property in Crewe but as she can’t drive, and with her job at Handforth Dean and Lucas’ nursery place in Handforth, she was unable to take it.
“I know the housing situation is difficult, and so many people need rehousing,” she added.
“But at the moment it seems that Contour are handing properties to people who have not been on the list for as long.”
Andrew Lord, neighbourhood lead for Contour Homes, said: “We don’t usually comment on individual circumstances.
“However we allocate all of our properties in a clear and transparent way in line with our lettings policy and based on priorities of need.
“In this particular case, we will contact the customer to ensure that we have accurate and up to date records of her current circumstances and housing need.
“This will enable us to understand her housing requirements in full and ensure that she is given the appropriate priority for rehousing.”