Delays to adaptation work in HE home is making life ‘unbearable’

Sinn Fein Councillor Caoimhe McKnight and Lewis and Sandra McClenaghan outside their Leafair Park home.
Sinn Fein Councillor Caoimhe McKnight and Lewis and Sandra McClenaghan outside their Leafair Park home.

A Derry couple who have been waiting over a year for adaptations to their Housing Executive home have said the delay is making life ‘unbearable’.

Lewis and Sandra McClenaghan were referred by an occupational therapist for adaptations to be made to their Leafair Park home in November, 2017.

Mrs McClenaghan has a number of serious health problems, including COPD and Cellulitis and, as a result, her mobility is affected, but she is unable to get a wheelchair into her home.

The couple were initially told the work would begin in March. However, they were informed there was a delay and the work would not begin until a later date.

“We are living out of boxes at the minute and Sandra is essentially housebound. It is making life unbearable for her and she doesn’t want to go because it is so difficult to get out of the house. This is having an impact on her health,” Lewis said.

A local Sinn Fein councillor has raised concerns about the delays to adaptation work.

Colr. Caoimhe McKnight said that the McClenaghans are just one of a number of tenants who have contacted her office in relation to the issue.

“These tenants have been assessed, given a start date for the adaptation to their home and have now been informed that it is not proceeding.

“This is an unacceptable and frustrating position for people who have been assessed as having health conditions that require home adaptation and in expectation that it would be carried out in the time-frame indicated.”

The councillor said that it can take around two years for even minor works to complete and any postponement causes ‘an intolerable situation for people already suffering a variety of health complications’.

A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, we have experienced difficulties with both contractors and consultants this year, which has delayed timescales for adaptations, referred to us by occupational therapists.

“We apologise for this but the situation is now resolved and we are currently working through the backlog of cases.

“In this case, a contractor has already been identified to carry out the work and this is scheduled to commence in the Spring.

“Our local office staff will liaise with the family as the date for the work approaches.”