Willesden pensioner forced to live with no hot water and heating for seven months contracts pneumonia

Genesis Housing Association finally fix broken boiler when the Times stepped in

An elderly housing association tenant who was left without heating or hot water for seven months after her boiler broke down is in hospital being treated for pneumonia.

Winifred Forbes, of Huddlestone Road, Willesden, contracted the respiratory illness last week after enduring freezing temperatures after the central heating system packed up last October.

The 83-year-old and her husband Clifford, 85, have been forced to travel to a friend’s home in Neasden to wash and bathe.

Despite Mr Forbes’ family making a flurry of concerned calls to Genesis Housing Association (GHA) who own the property,it was only fixed after the family contacted the Times.

However, Mrs Forbes has to stay in Northwick Park Hospital where she is being treated with antibiotics.

Mr Forbes described the scenario as ‘a nightmare’.

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He said: “It should not have gone on for so long, thank the lord it is fixed now but I have spent months having to wash at a friend’s house and my wife is ill.

“I still don’t know when she will be coming home.”

The couple’s daughter Judith, 53, who lives in Harrow, said: “A housing association has a duty to care for elderly people and they have clearly demonstrated they haven’t done that.

“For this to happen for one week is unacceptable but for seven months is crazy.”

While the Forbes were waiting for the boiler to be fixed they were given a temporary heater which also broke down.

Their daughter claims that GHA sent out contractors from Village Heating, who provide heating and plumbing services for social landlords and housing associations, but despite them making numerous visits to the property the were boiler wasn’t fixed until last week.

She added: “It’s disgusting that this has been allowed to happen for so long, where is my father’s dignity? Thank god for the Times because if nobody had stepped in, this would still be going on.”

A GHA spokesman said they were unaware the temporary heater broke down and that the boiler was fixed last week. He added: “Whenever the resident contacted us we went out and fixed it and ensured it was in working order before we left.

“We are going to be checking up on it to make sure that it remains working.”

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