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I'm going to be a prisoner in my own home
“WE will be prisoners in our own home.”
Those are the words of a young single mum after council chiefs revealed plans to carry out repairs to the lifts in her Southampton tower block.
Sam Slater, 24, who lives on the third floor of Highlands House, in Woolston, says she and her three children face being “trapped” in their flat until next year, when the work begins later this month.
Mother-of-three, Sam, who suffers from a serious heart condition and relies on a pacemaker to keep her heart beating regularly, said it would be “physically impossible” for her to haul her two-seater pushchair up and down three flights of stairs every day, during the four-month project.
She claims she could even be forced to keep her eldest son, Kevin, four, off school, because she has no other family to look after her two younger children, Callum, two, and seven-month-old Kai.
Sam told the Daily Echo that housing bosses had sent letters to residents warning them of the plans and appealed for people to come forward if they wanted to be temporarily re-homed. But Sam has hit out at councillors after her pleas for help fell on deaf ears.
She said: “The council told me that arrangement was aimed at elderly people, not people with children. They are discriminating against single mums by only offering certain people help.
“The housing officer came out and even he couldn’t get my buggy up the stairs.
“If he can’t manage it how am I supposed to?
‘Disgusting’ “With my pacemaker I can’t physically cope with walking up and down the stairs all the time. I’ll probably end up in hospital if I try to, but they won’t move us out.
“I’m not asking for a palace. I don’t care where the council move us. I just want somewhere we can sleep.”
Southampton City Council’s housing boss, Cllr Warwick Payne, who also looks after the Woolston ward, said that he had spoken to Sam and was now “making enquiries on her behalf” in a bid to find her temporary accommodation.
He added: “I have spoken to the housing officers, but at the moment I’m in the same position as Sam in that I am waiting to hear if there’s anything we can do.
“I recognise that she has a medical condition and because of that we should do everything we can to help her.”