Cancer sufferer tells of misery living in Redbridge Council temporary accommodation

Mubashar Ahmad in his room

Mubashar Ahmad in his room - Credit: Archant

»Cancer sufferer Mubashar Ahmad sits cold and alone in the cramped room that has been his home for three months.

A bed is the only furniture in the room, which is one of nine crammed into the Ilford guest house provided as temporary accommodation by Redbridge Council.

Mr Ahmad, 47, is among 2,098 households – which can include several people – living in limbo as they wait for council homes.

He has undergone five operations for bladder cancer and is having regular treatment at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone.

Mr Ahmad’s illness forced him to stop working and he was evicted from his home in Seymour Gardens, Ilford last year after falling behind with his rent.


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Facing homelessness, he was put in Wentworth Guest House, Ilford Lane, by the council.

He said: “There are 13 of us but we only have one kitchen, one shower and three toilets between us. There’s nowhere to eat so we have to spread newspapers out on the floor.

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“There is supposed to be a warden in reception but there is never anyone there.”

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a group of men broke down the door of the guest house before smoking cannabis inside.

Residents include single women and elderly people – some who have been there for longer than Mr Ahmad.

He said his doctor had written to the council to say he needed “suitable accommodation” with his illness.

Constant dealing with the hospital, council and solicitors over his previous eviction has taken its toll on Mr Ahmad.

Breaking down into tears, he said: “I once said to my surgeon: ‘Give me an injection so I don’t wake up, I don’t want to live’.”

A council spokesman said Mr Ahmad is being made an offer of housing “this week” due to his illness.

She said Wentworth Guest House has “adequate shared facilities” and has been inspected by environmental health and council officers to ensure it meets “statutory and contractual requirements”.

She added: “Generally applicants can expect to wait for several years in temporary accommodation given the shortage of housing.”

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