Newlon ‘sorry’ it left disabled man to survive without heating in freezing Upper Holloway flat for three weeks
PUBLISHED: 18:07 28 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:07 28 January 2019
A disabled poet has slammed Newlon Housing Trust for leaving him to survive without heating or hot water in his Lower Holloway flat for “nearly a month”.
Kass Hammami, of Merlin Court, in Piper Close, has become depressed while battling to get his housing association to fix its broken boiler – and Newlon today admitted it’s “failed” him and offered him compensation to say sorry.
The 33-year-old, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has lived at the property for nine years, but says in recent weeks he’s been forced to bathe in kettle water and hunker down in libraries during the day.
“It has radically affected my health,” Kass told the Gazette. “I have been trying to find coping mechanisms but it’s hard to do that.
“Obviously a home should be somewhere to relax but for me going home is like going back into the streets, so I’m going to places like libraries just to enjoy the warmth. It’s really cold.
“I’m a wheelchair user and I’ve been put in a vulnerable position by Newlon.”
Kass, who’s appeared in the Gazette before, reported his boiler broken on January 7. But he says Newlon has missed “numerous” appointments to fix it – and 21 days later, with snow forecast later this week, it still hasn’t been fixed.
“I haven’t had hot water,” said Kass. “I’ve been washing with a kettle – it’s so uncomfortable. All I’m doing is just warming up my body.”
Kass also says some Newlon staff have been “sarcastic” and dismissive of his problems, with one allegedly hanging up on him and another instructing: “Don’t call us – we’ll call you.”
He says the situation has led him to suicidal thoughts, which he has since sought help for from his GP.
A Newlon Housing Trust spokesperson said: “We have been in contact with the resident today and the repairs will be carried out tomorrow morning.
“We have clearly failed to deal with the problems with Mr Hammami’s heating and hot water as we should have done. This has been caused by poor communication between Newlon and our specialist heating repairs contractor and in turn with Mr Hammami.
“We apologise unreservedly to Mr Hammami and will be contacting him to offer compensation.
“We will also make sure that we take on board the learning points from this situation.”