Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Housing Executive must step up

This is me with Billy McDonagh.

Billy lives in a bungalow in the Short Strand.

Before Christmas during the freeze Billy rang me to say he was very concerned about the conditions of the windows in his home. This isn’t the first time Billy has been in touch, on numerous occasions I have had to lobby the Housing Executive and their contractors on his behalf.

The extreme weather exacerbated many of his concerns about the condition of his home and despite numerous visits from contractors, no substantial repair work has been carried out to his property.

Without doubt, the impact on Billy’s health has been negative.

During a meeting Sinn Féin held with the Chief Executive, Chairperson and senior management staff from the Housing Executive, I raised Billy’s case directly with them.

But back to the phone call Billy made to me pre-Christmas; he informed me that despite putting oil in the tank and having the heating on, large clumps of ice were forming around the INSIDE of his window frames. I checked the heating and while not an expert, to me it seemed to be working fine. As for his windows, I had never seen anything like it, the only thing I can think of to describe is similar to the ice that forms around the inside of your freezer door.
It is clear that despite his heating being on, Billy's home is loosing it through the unsuitable windows. Billy has informed me that on some occasions he wakes up in the morning and is able to see his breath.

This gives Billy and I cause for serious concern.
Following the holidays I also contacted the local Housing Executive and urged them to review Billy’s case without delay; they have agreed, but over a week has passed with no one coming to see him. While appreciating the Housing Executive are dealing with a substantial backlog of work, given the serious impact on Billy’s health and wellbeing, it baffles me how so much time would be allowed to lapse without even coming out to asses the condition of his home.

Billy makes the case and I support him in this, that his wooden windows are not up to scratch and it is our view that the Housing Executive should seek to replace them with more appropriate UPVC windows.

Appropriately Billy took a number of photos of the conditions of his windows during the freeze and these can indeed be passed onto the Housing Executive.

For our part, south & east Belfast Sinn Féin will be seeking a meeting with the Housing executive management to discuss this and a number of outstanding issues.

Don’t forget you can get in touch with our office if you need assistance on an issue like this or any other @ sandebelfast@sinn-fein.ie or 02890243194

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