Blind man claims he is forced into housing in Stoke Newington which will put him at risk
PUBLISHED: 16:44 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:58 01 November 2013
A blind homeless man claims he is being forced to move into a flat which could put him and his guide dog at risk.
John Craig, 23, was due to move into a flat in a Somerford Grove, Stoke Newington apartment block earlier this week but he fears the communal fire alarm in place could disorientate him and his guide dog and will struggle to access the meter he needs to top up his gas as it’s down an outside alleyway with steps leading to it.
Mr Craig, who has a one-year-old daughter who does not live with him, said: “The property is not suitable for me as it has a communal fire alarm, which a neighbour told me goes off two or three times a night.
“It will be difficult to evacuate the building with my guide dog and baby daughter, when she stays, alongside so many other people. I have to walk down three flights of stairs to get out and loud noises like this disorient my senses and frighten my guide dog. There is also a gas meter in an unlit alleyway outside which is difficult to get to.
“I feel the council are not listening to my needs and just want to want to put me into the first property they find.
“I just want someone to sit down with me from the council and listen to my needs rather than talk about what they think I need.
“I have been homeless for 10 to 11 months and if it was not for my friends I would not have anywhere to go. I just want to live my life as a normal and happy person.“
The former London Fields resident also raised concerns that he was given the flat after his application for housing was allegedly backdated to 2010 and he jumped from seven to number one in the queue. He said he complained to the council about this, and his application date was corrected, but he was still given the property.
A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “The council has been working extremely closely with Mr Craig to find a permanent housing solution that meets his specific needs and disability.
“Mr Craig has signed a tenancy but we understand he has some concerns about the suitability of the property and is in discussion with his housing association to resolve them.”