Disabled Ilford residents forced out of seven-storey block of flats over one month wait to fix lift
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 January 2020
Disabled residents at an Ilford block of flats will spend most of January living in temporary accommodation after the building’s only lift broke down on New Year’s Day.
Residents at Victor Court, a seven-storey building in Roden Street, have been without a functioning lift since just before 10pm on January 1, when firefighters spent more than two hours rescuing someone who had got trapped in it.
A piece of paper was then taped to the lift doors, informing residents that Swan Housing, the association that manages the site, was aware of the defect.
Then, at around 10am on Tuesday, January 7, after the lift had been out of action for almost a week, Victor Court residents received a text message from a company acting on behalf of Swan Housing, giving an update on the lift repairs.
It read: "Dear residents of Victor Court, we have been liaising with the lift manufacturers Orona regarding the parts which are required to put the lift back in service.
"These parts are not expected to arrive till January 27 at the earliest.
"We are doing everything possible to try and bring this forward.
"As soon as we receive an update we will let you know in due course.
"Sorry for any inconvenience caused."
But the news that the lift may be broken for almost a month, perhaps unsurprisingly, went down rather poorly with residents.
One told the Recorder: "There are disabled residents in this block who are trapped, they can't get out, it is absolutely unbelievable.
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"No one seems to want to help them."
Another told the Recorder that elderly residents have been struggling to remove rubbish bags from their flats and others have stopped doing large supermarket shops for fear of having to lug their bags up several flights of stairs.
"It's a really bad situation to be in", they added.
A spokeswoman for Swan Housing stressed the "safety and wellbeing of our residents is our priority and we are working closely to support them while the repairs are carried out to the lift at Victor Court".
The company also confirmed that lift engineers don't expect the repairs to be made until after January 27, so the building's emergency resident support plan has been implemented.
The spokeswoman continued: "We have contacted all residents whose circumstances suggest they will be unable to use the stairs, to ensure they have alternative accommodation they can access and if they do not have alternative accommodation, we have offered them local hotel accommodation.
"Swan is paying out of pocket expenses for residents who have chosen to stay with family and friends and any hotel accommodation will be arranged and paid for by Swan.
"All vulnerable residents have been supported to move to alternative accommodation or, if they wish to remain in their homes, are being actively supported to do so by our dedicated housing teams.
"For example, by providing ground floor storage facilities and support with the delivery of shopping and heavy goods items.
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are currently contacting vulnerable residents to reassess their situation given the timeframe for repairs.
"Any resident at Victor Court who needs further support should contact our housing teams on 0300 303 2500 who are trained to assist them."
A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman confirmed firefighters were called to Victor Court at 9.52pm on January 1 "to reports of a person trapped in a lift".
Firefighters helped rescue the trapped person, and the incident was declared over at 12.09am.