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‘How can I live like this?’ asks disabled man put in ‘inaccessible’ Redbridge accommodation

Rafee Baksh says the hostel is 'inaccessible' for him in a wheelchair. Rafee Baksh says the hostel is 'inaccessible' for him in a wheelchair.

Thursday, February 20, 2014
7:00 AM

A disabled man who relies on a wheelchair has been put into accommodation he claims he cannot use by Redbridge Council.

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Rafee Baksh, 51, was moved into temporary accommodation in Forest Gate earlier this month from a hostel in Ilford.

He said he cannot even use the bathrooms or showers in the building, despite being told it was suitable for him.

“There are no facilities for me – I’m wheelchair bound and I can’t even use the toilets,” he said.

“How do they expect me to live like this?”

Mr Baksh suffers from diabetic neuropathy, where nerves progressively die in the hands and feet.

He said: “I’ve lost my feeling in my feet up to my ankles and it’s not going to get any better, it’s only going to get worse.

“It makes it difficult just to do the basics in life.”

Mr Baksh, who worked as a car sprayer before his illness worsened, said the move to Forest Gate is making it difficult to see his 10 children.

He added: “My youngest boys are just seven and nine and I can’t even take them to the park.”

Mr Baksh said his previous hostel was suitable but was moved suddenly after an accident involving his mobility scooter.

A child in the hostel was playing with the accelerator when it accidently hit a teenage boy, he claimed.

A council spokesman said Mr Baksh’s situation “is felt to be suitable on a short term basis”

She added: “He has been offered an assessment for a possible care package to assist him, but this was declined.

“This accommodation is only for a short time while we review the case.”

Temporary accommodation is used to prevent people becoming homeless when the council cannot provide a long-term home.

Demand for social housing in Redbridge far outstrips supply and 14,359 households were on the waiting list in January.

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