"As his parents we are devastated that everything has deteriorated so badly that he felt he couldn't go on, we are both disabled and have gone through our own problems but nothing comes close to how he is being treated..."
Last month, the Salford Star was contacted by a disabled man living in a high rise flat off Blackfriars Road. He hadn't been able to get his shopping out of his car for two days because the lift to his floor was broken and landlord, Salix Homes, he said, had refused to provide disabled tenants and visitors any form of assistance.
When we phoned him up, we had to hold as his friend had just turned up with some toilet roll. He was a virtual prisoner in his own home... "I personally am unable to use the stairs without the risk of injury and actually stumbled on Wednesday trying to get down the stairs twisting my knees when they refused to help" his original email stated "They showed no concern and have made no attempt to keep me or others updated on what's happening."*
When we visited him, we saw that he was obviously disabled and was on medication but he told us that Salix was asking for proof , despite the fact that the company had fitted a wet room.
Meanwhile, horrendous ongoing anti-social behaviour (ASB) issues with people in the flat above, who had rented from someone who had bought their property from Salix, had left him depressed and at the end of his tether...
We decided, with his agreement, not to run the story straight away, as he had already received a solicitor's letter from Salix stating that the company would no longer discuss the anti-social behaviour case or any other issues. We didn't want him to be victimised further, as has happened with other social housing tenants in Salford that have spoken out against their landlord.
He said he was going to stay with his parents in Bristol as the problems upstairs had got worse, and, despite contacting his ward councillors, none had replied after two weeks.
Last Saturday, the Salford Star received a copy of an email from his parents in Bristol sent to Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, local councillors Stephen Ord and Jane Hamilton, and Councillor Richard Critchley, who used to live on the estate. Their son had tried to commit suicide in a motorway car park.
The full text of the email reads...
Dear MP and Councillors,
"Myself and my husband have obtained your contact details and are writing to you all following the terrifying suicide attempt of our son on Wednesday, after he has received NO help, not even from his landlords over the last 12 months. We have checked his emails and his cries for help regarding this daily ASB and Access Problems which go back months but have gone unanswered.
We thank God that his suicide attempt was stopped in time and he received emergency help in a motorway car park from the Air Ambulance and Worcestershire Police [reference number provided]. He is currently at our family home trying to regain his strength and put himself back together and hopes to be fit to return home soon.
We know you have been told how bad things are for our son and how he has been forced to deal with ASB from his neighbours for months often being forced out of his home and even sleeping in his car, we also know that he told his housing officer about his suicidal thoughts but nothing was done. You all know that he is registered disabled and takes large doses of prescribed medication daily. He has now been refused any help from his landlords in dealing with this ongoing ASB and basic access requests due to his disabilities.
What is even more serious and frightening is that his landlord has now refused to accept the fact that he is even disabled and refuses to provide any help, even after he has had his bathroom replaced with a disabled wet room, he's been given a disabled parking pass and also given them personal medical details for a number of years. He is in the support group for ESA and receives full PiP so the DWP can see his serious disabilities but his landlords can't.
The fact that his urgent cries for help have been ignored and his landlords have turned their back on him and instructed solicitors rather than provide the help that he urgently needs is horrifying, we can't understand how anyone can let a company do this to a vulnerable person forcing him to try and take his own life, they should be held responsible for leaving him in this desperate way.
As his parents we are devastated that everything has deteriorated so badly that he felt he couldn't go on, we are both disabled and have gone through our own problems but nothing comes close to how he is being treated. We now plead to you as his Councillors and MP, in a hope that you will step forward and provide the desperate support which he should have received months ago and hope he is not left to get worse on his own as we couldn't cope with a repeat of the last few days.
We would really like to thank Mr Critchley for the help he has given our son, we know you're not his Councillor but we know he was feeling encouraged after your visits at the time and we thank you for giving him some of your time and support..."
* When the Salford Star was first contacted by the tenant, we emailed Salix Homes for a comment on the broken lifts and disabled access issues but received no response.
Since the email arrived we have contacted the tenant's parents and been told that, as of yesterday, only Councillor Critchley and Rebecca Long-Bailey's office had responded. This is particularly poor on the part of Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, who used to live on the estate, and ran the Vertical Villages residents association as a 'community activist'.
The Salford Star has kept the name of tenant anonymous for the time being while he recovers.
Photo by Steven Speed