Tenant of asbestos flat ‘set to lose everything’

A workman surveys an asbestos site. Picture: Press Association

A workman surveys an asbestos site. Picture: Press Association - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

An autistic woman’s life possessions look set to be destroyed after builders disturbed asbestos in her flat.

Carmen Francis, 24, has spent three weeks living in hotels after workmen confirmed that the potentially dangerous substance had been disturbed in the flat in Forest Road, Hackney on March 12 – nearly two weeks after workman moved in to fix a leak in the bathroom.

Miss Francis was told by housing association Family Mosaic she had to leave all her belongings in the flat while a course of action was decided on.

She claims to have been given just £250 to buy some new clothes and does not even have a winter coat.

But her mother and full-time carer Andrea Francis, 53, of Mare Street, was allowed to take her few belongings with her. She said: “It’s absolutely soul-destroying.”

Mrs Francis was told to get rid of her daughter’s suitcase and lap-top, which Miss Francis had taken to Ireland on the day the asbestos was discovered.

Mrs Francis claimed when her daughter came back from Ireland, she was told to get rid of everything she was wearing and put the case and laptop in a black bin bag.

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She added: “All they’ve given to her is £250 to buy new clothes.

“It’s not enough money to replace everything.”

Mrs Francis said: “It’s really, really stressful and it’s disrupted her whole life.

“They’ve given her £15 a day to eat – that’s just not enough. She’s a vegan. To buy healthy cooked meals is almost impossible on that budget.

“I think compensation should be given so she can get on with part of her life with normality.”

Miss Francis is a hoarder as well as suffering from depression and Asperger syndrome.

A Family Mosaic spokesman said it was necessary to move Miss Frances out for four to five weeks as a “safety precaution.”

She said the specialist contractor had advised removing “certain personal items” as a precaution and said it was necessary for all porous surfaces such as carpets and clothing to be disposed of as “contaminated waste.”

She added: “Once these items have been inventoried and disposed of, we value them and arrange reimbursement.” She pointed out £250 had also been made in advance and that £15 is a standard food allowance paid per day for people looking for alternative accommodation with cooking facilities.

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