Mouldy homes: Deaths 'could happen again'

Mouldy homes: Deaths 'could happen again'
Mouldy homes: Deaths 'could happen again'

Arabnews24.ca:Thursday 8 December 2022 02:12 AM: The housing ombudsman for England has told Sky News that more children could die from complications related to damp and mould in homes.

Following a coroner's ruling that a two-year-old boy's death was caused by "extensive" mould in his family's flat, housing ombudsman for England Richard Blakeway has told the Sky News Daily podcast that "there is a real risk" of further fatalities.

Mr Blakeway gave evidence at Awaab Ishak's inquest. The toddler died shortly after his second birthday in December 2020.

"I'm afraid it is deeply distressing to say this," he said. "It really is a defining moment, as the coroner rightly said, or a wake-up call, I would say, for landlords to really look at this issue and get the right approach in place."

The Housing Ombudsman is an independent organisation that looks at complaints about housing organisations.

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Image: Damp and mould in Natasha's home

Natasha is a mum to three children. The youngest, Frankie, is 18 months old, and lives in social housing run by Cornwall Housing in Launceston.

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The mould and damp in the property is so bad that Natasha says her daughter Frankie "now has respiratory issues" - and has been in hospital a number of times for her breathing.

Natasha told the Sky News Daily: "Frankie gets chest infections quite a lot. And she's also got a skin pigmentation at the moment, which is due to the mould spores."

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"Mentally, emotionally, I'm actually drained," she said." I feel like a failure because I can't keep her health safe. I can't keep her safe. I have addressed this with the council, and I just seem to be getting fobbed off."

A letter from Frankie's GP said they were "concerned that Frankie is developing mould allergy symptoms" - and advises the family are moved out to prevent any future health issues.

Mr Blakeway believes the problem will only be resolved if the trust between tenants and landlords improves.

"Getting communication right is so important so that landlords can be really clear, [and] open with their residents about how they're going to approach this challenging period and how their services are going to be there to support their residents," he said.

Cornwall Council said: "We take seriously our responsibilities as the landlord of more than 10,000 social homes across Cornwall.

"The health and safety of our tenants is our priority and when we are made aware of an issue with damp and mould, we will work with tenants to identify the cause and how to resolve the issue. We cannot comment on specific cases, but we have worked with the tenant to address the concerns identified."

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Producer: Soila Apparicio
Interviews Producer: Alys Bowen
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Editor: Philly Beaumont

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