Elderly residents "housebound" as sheltered housing lift breaks down
- Credit: Holly Chant
Elderly tenants at a sheltered housing block in Hackney are speaking out after a faulty lift has left many marooned in their flats or struggling with the stairs.
Several residents gathered outside Ajex House in Stamford Hill on Tuesday (June 30), to call out the ongoing issues with one of the building's two lifts, for the Norman Laski wing.
The group of older residents feel "disregarded" by the management Industrail Dwellings Society (IDS) with some having to travel up eight flights of stairs, or four floors, to get to their apartments. Stair lifts installed due to the lift regularly breaking down have also proved time-consuming and faulty "half the time", according to statements from residents.
One tenant, Pearl Doweb, is a wheelchair user and a former representative at Ajex House. She said: "IDS has disregarded its commitment for sheltered accommodation for the elderly, sick and vulnerable people who reside in their property."
Pearl and other residents say they have complained by phone to "no avail".
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"They don’t want to know, they don’t care - it is obscene," said another resident who preferred not to be named.
Joe Raymond, resident of Ajex House for four years, says "he has had enough". The last straw being IDS's "insulting" offer of compensation.
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"They sent a letter through each door saying that they were giving, as a gesture for compensation, a £15 Marks and Spencer voucher.
"No-one received that voucher."
Residents have since received the voucher after lodging a complaint.
Resident Susie Cohen added: "The thought is nice but it's not going to solve the problem with the lift".
Joe said the problems with the lift has been ongoing for years and got worse after a new lift was installed in the building on April 21.
"Sometimes it breaks down and no-one does anything about it for up to a month or two."
"There are people here in their 70s and 80s, I mean, I'm 65.
"Can you imagine the lift not working and four floors to climb, even more than once a day. People just stay in."
He says since April the lift has broken down virtually every week.
Joe added: "If a new lift breaks down so many times it begs the question, how many of these parts were actually new?"
In response to residents' concerns a spokesperson for Ajex House said: "We are sorry that our residents have experienced problems since the refurbishment of the lift serving the Norman Laski wing at Ajex House.
"The delay in resolving these was partly due to the need to import a replacement component from Europe.
"This work has now been completed and we believe that the situation is now resolved as there have been no further breakdowns over the past few days."
The spokesperson says IDS staff checked the lift on June 28 and will continue to do so, adding that residents have been supported during the breakdown of the lift by a resident services co-ordinator and estate services.
The spokesperson added: "We fully understand the residents' frustration and accept that our performance fell short of the high standards we usually maintain.
"From the start of the refurbishment work, IDS provided stair-lifts and offered personal assistance to individual tenants needing this but, in recognition of the inconvenience caused, we are offering tenants compensation in the form of gift vouchers, which have been delivered.
"We will also be reviewing the service charges for the period concerned to reflect the problems."