Disabled Hackney resident’s torment as she waits to move home

Epileptic sufferer Jen Thames awaits for suitable housing from Hackney Council

Epileptic sufferer Jen Thames awaits for suitable housing from Hackney Council - Credit: Archant

A disabled resident says she has endured a four-year torment searching for suitable housing from Hackney Council.

Jen Thames, 29, of Graham Road, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy causing her to have violent seizures that could pose a threat to herself and neighbouring residents.

As Ms Thames is able to unlock doors and windows during a seizure, the balcony in her flat several floors up is a major worry. She says there is also considerable risk of her falling and injuring herself on the tower block’s concrete stairwell.

The seizures are aggravated by noise from neighbours that can be heard through the thin apartment walls. Called complex partial seizures, the epileptic attacks impairs the sufferer’s consciousness which can lead to unusual movements or behaviour.

Her friend and part-time carer, Thomas Corr, 24, said: “It seems the council is looking for her to seriously injure herself before they will consider rehousing her.”

The current system for allocating council properties requires Ms Thames to bid for accommodation that she knows is unsuitable.

Ms Thames said: “When I left school I qualified as a chef, I want to be independent but now I’m practically housebound. My happiness is disappearing”

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During her worst seizure at the property Ms Thames ran out of her front door and collided with a man and a pram on the communal landing, pushing the child out on to the fire escape.

This incident resulted in the police being called and Ms Thames being detained by officers completely unaware of her condition.

Ms Thames added: “it would be nice if the council could show a bit more care. I feel totally neglected and abandoned.”

A Hackney Council spokesperson said in response: “We appreciate Ms Thames’ frustration, and we continue to work with her to find suitable accommodation. However, demand for social housing massively outstrips supply in Hackney. Council homes are allocated on a needs basis to ensure that those with the greatest need receive priority.”