Hackney Council in climbdown over disabled woman’s ‘eviction’

Hackney Community Law Centre staff and patron

Hackney Community Law Centre staff with new patron, Louise Christian (centre left): Nathaniel Matthews, senior solicitor (L); Sean Canning, HCLC manager (centre right); and Wendy Pettifer, senior solicitor (R). Photograph: HCLC

A severely disabled woman was given 48 hours by Hackney Council to move to a flat unsuited to her needs and told that she would have made herself ‘intentionally homeless’ if she refused.

Agnes Parma, who is partially sighted, diabetic, clinically obese and now a wheelchair user, was informed on Wednesday (25 April) that she had just two days to move from her nursing home placement, which is funded by Hackney Council, to new accommodation that has not yet been fully adapted to cater for her physical disabilities.

Hackney Community Law Centre, which is representing Ms Parma, argued that the flat to which Ms Parma has been told she must move is not yet ready for her, and therefore challenged the council’s decision to terminate her placement on 48 hours’ notice.

Following the Hackney Citizen‘s enquiries to the council regarding Ms Parma’s situation, Town Hall bosses have now agreed to extend her stay in the residential home for a further two weeks.

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “We understand that moving can be stressful and we are supporting Ms Parma through her move to a more suitable home.

“The adaptations to her new flat will continue over the next week then it is hoped that Ms Parma will sign her tenancy agreement and move into her new home, where her social worker will ensure her care package meets her needs.”

The council also pointed out that Ms Parma is currently in a temporary residential place and it was always the case she would have to move on.

“The council has been looking for a suitable property to offer Ms Parma and begun adapting her new flat. This is a temporary property until Ms Parma chooses her new home when a suitable one becomes available.

Wendy Pettifer, Senior Supervising Solicitor at Hackney Community Law Centre said: “We are relieved that our client, Ms Parma, will no longer have to leave her care home today.  However, given Ms Parma’s severe medical problems we will be monitoring her housing situation closely.”

Ms Parma’s accommodation problems began in August 2009, when she became unwell and was admitted to Homerton Hospital.

After being discharged seven months later, Ms Parma was informed that, as she was now a wheelchair user, she would not be able to return to her first floor flat.

She then spent one year living at the Median Road Residential Centre – a rehabilitation home for elderly patients – but had to be readmitted to hospital as she became unwell again.

Before returning to hospital, Ms Parma had been informed that her license to occupy a room at Median Road would be terminated – though according to a spokesperson at Hackney Community Law Centre she had never received a legal Notice to Quit.

After being discharged in March this year, Ms Parma was moved to a nursing home in Barking and Dagenham.