A man in his 50’s suffering with COPD and left with no heating or hot water, had the phone slammed down on him by a council worker he was trying to get help from.
Kevin who lives in a shared house in South Hornchurch discovered that he had no heating or hot water and was concerned about his room getting cold so called the council helpline to see if someone could come and fix his heating. He was advised that at that late time no one would be able to come and address the issue but temporary heaters would be delivered to help keep him warm until the boiler was fixed.
He told the Havering Daily: “I live in a house that is an HMO (house of multiple occupancy) with six other people. I was supposed to be here for six months but instead I have been left here for four years. In November we were all without heating and water for eleven days. I suffer with COPD so I need to stay warm.
“I called the council number to see if someone could come and repair the heating but they were unable to, so informed me that someone would be round to deliver temporary heaters to keep me going. It started to get late and no one had arrived so I called back and the employee on the phone was very rude and told me no one was coming. I then informed her that I needed help and she said that if I was unhappy I could complain and slammed the phone down in my face.”
Kevin who lives along Collingwood Road, was left very angry and upset at how he was treated.
“People are calling that number for help, you don’t know what condition they are in and what state of mind they are in and yet the woman slams the phone down in my face. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was I left with no heating, but I also faced a very rude and unhelpful woman who told me to make a complaint then put the phone down.”
Kevin is desperate to move from the one small room he is currently living in and feels like he has been forgotten and abandoned by those who should be helping him.
“I have been in this one room for four years now. I feel like they are just leaving me to rot and that no one cares. As I suffer from COPD, I need to stay on the ground floor as I can not walk upstairs.”
Local councillor Natasha Summers was able to help Kevin and provide him with heaters and now fortunately his boiler has been fixed.
“The employee who spoke to me like that should be sacked. She had no compassion and no understanding. People are calling that number for help, you should still have common courtesy and talk to people nicely, you never know what they are going through at that moment.”
Prospective Councillors for Beam Park Ross Elliott and Daniel Beal were also able to help Kevin.
Ross Elliott said
‘It is truly disappointing to hear how the council have treated Kevin. To allow anyone to go without heating for so long is unacceptable, let alone someone who has serious health conditions. Kevin’s room is basically a garage that has been converted into a bedroom. It has poor insulation and I can imagine it is hard to keep warm. So to be left in the cold by the council because they ‘forgot’ to send an engineer is outrageous. Kevin was only supposed to be there for a few months and that has turned into many years. Kevin already feels like the council have forgotten about him, so I can understand his frustration.
‘Kevin is a pleasant man, who is well mannered and polite. To hear how he was spoken to by the council because of its own mistakes and incompetence is upsetting. Lucky, we were able to provide some electric heaters to Kevin so he could keep warm until the council fixed the issue.’
Daniel Beal said
“Here we are, smack bang in a pandemic, a time when the London Borough Of Havering has been rightly congratulating our NHS on all their hard work and stressing how important it is to not overwhelm them, yet they have allowed a gentleman in his late 50’s, suffering from pancreatic cancer and COPD, to live in a freezing cold HMO (or should I say, the garage attached to it).
“This gentleman has been left with no heating due to a faulty boiler, and it is sad to hear the person on the end of the LBH out of hours emergency contact line didn’t give a damn. After the gentleman called to find out if he was receiving the promised electric heaters the operator told him to put in a complaint and slammed the phone down on him.”