2:37pm Monday 23rd April 2012
By Daniel Binns
A WOMAN with severe epilepsy who lives on the fourth floor of a towerblock is distraught that she has waited more than 12 years to be rehoused - despite a doctor saying a move would ease her suffering.
Michelle Coglan, 37, was allocated a flat on the Priory Court estate, Walthamstow, more than a decade ago after being made homeless and has been pleading for more suitable accommodation ever since.
Ms Coglan, who can have as many as eight seizures a day and is often unaware they are happening, was categorised as being in “high priority” need of rehousing by the council last April but is yet to even view a potential property, she says.
Her family believe this has been hampered by the authority's decision to declare her ineligible for any homes with stairs, even though she and her doctor believe she can cope as long as there is only one flight of them.
Her doctor has written that rehousing is “the issue most likely to help bring her seizures under control” and asked the council in February if it was willing to allow some leeway in what type of home she was eligible for.
“I feel like I'm a prisoner in my own home”, said a tearful Ms Coglan, who lives in the flat with her mother and two sons aged 12 and 14.
“Our balcony door has to be locked so I don't fall and the windows closed, and if the lift breaks I'm trapped because I can't go down all those stairs.
“It's been going on so long – I can't believe I'm still here”.
Her mother, 55-year-old care worker Eileen Reynolds, said: “Her doctor is amazed at the situation and said she needs to be rehoused asap, it's like she's an animal living in a cage.
“The height of the flat is a problem but the stress of living on this estate is also affecting her greatly.”
A council spokesman said 21,000 people were on its rehousing register and it would consider reclassifying what type of property the family was eligible for if they made an application, which they say they have already done.
He added: "She was awarded additional preference on medical grounds a year ago and yet for whatever reason has made no bids for properties advertised in accordance with the medical recommendation of the panel in all that time."
The family deny the claim and say they made a bid for a home only last week.
Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Twitter
Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Facebook
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group