'Disgusting level of neglect' in sheltered housing, claims residentBy Becky Barnes
February 12, 2013
Rats, unsecured doors, broken fire alarms and drunks sleeping rough are putting vulnerable sheltered housing residents at risk, according to a pensioner.
The neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, claims Orchard Court, off Mount Lane, has spiralled to a ‘disgusting level of neglect’ after Southern Housing removed its live-in warden around two years ago.
The pensioner, who lives in the two-storey flat-block, said: “It is supposed to be sheltered housing, but there is no one there when you need them.”
There are two members of staff who come to the building daily, but the resident claims this is only for a couple of hours and nothing is done.
A family member of the resident said: “The whole place needs sorting out – it is dirty and there have been fingerprints of blood on the door handles for months.
“It is completely mismanaged.”
According to the tenant, because the doors do not always shut, the building is unsecure, and they claim on more than one occasion, drunk or homeless people have been found sleeping rough in the building.
They said: “Night time is dangerous and dodgy – you hear the doors and you don’t know who is coming in.”
The tenant added they and other residents, aged from 55 to some in their 90s, have complained but claims they were been told the company ‘hasn’t got the money or the time’ to install proper locks and CCTV.
Residents pay an annual service charge for the building to be maintained, but they feel ‘forgotten’.
The family member added: “Sheltered housing should be secure, have someone managing it and appropriate security with locked doors and CCTV.
“It is dangerous for these vulnerable residents.”
The tenant claims other issues include overgrown trees causing a fire hazard, lack of cleanliness, leaking guttering is causing damp and rats are attracted by dumped rubbish in the garden.
They also claim a resident was left with a broken fire alarm for three months, someone else without electricity for 48 hours and say some residents have been called upon to do odd jobs around the building by Southern Housing.
Troy Francis, regional director of Southern Housing Group, said: “Providing a safe and comfortable environment for our residents is very important to us, and we are working closely with our contractors and the residents concerned to resolve the issues that have been raised.
“We are fixing the corridor lights, and have already fixed the entrance doors which now close securely.
“The fire alarm is tested for a few minutes once a week and is then re-set by a member of staff.
“The service charge provision for the scheme was last reviewed in July 2012, and residents have benefited from a reduction in the service charge as part of our continuous drive to deliver value for money.
“We will create an appropriate forum to provide residents with feedback on progress against the issues raised and for them to talk to us about any wider local issues.”