Single-legged Mother Compelled to Crawl Up Staircase to Apartment Amidst 100 Vacant Residences

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A disabled mother with one leg is forced to crawl up 17 concrete stairs to reach her apartment while, just over a mile away, 100 ex-council homes lie vacant.

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Tracey Whiteside, 48, from Linwood, Scotland, has been waiting nearly four years for the council to provide her with a new accessible home. She’s been labeled a priority for a more suitable home, but the wait drags on.

Tracey faces an agonizing daily climb to her second-floor flat. The stairwell is often dirty and has even been urinated on. She’s also had to dodge needles left by drug users. All the while, Renfrewshire Council plans to demolish the 100 empty ex-council homes nearby in Ferguslie.

“The stairs are in terrible condition. I crawl up them on my hands and knees to get to my front door, and there’s 100 homes lying empty just down the road,” said Tracey. “Why can’t one of those homes be adapted for someone like me?”

Her daily ordeal is taking a toll on her mental health. Tracey said she can only leave her home for critical reasons like medical appointments or support group meetings for amputees. She often has to crawl around her flat just to get to the bathroom, which she described as “soul-destroying.”

“I’ve been told I’m a priority, but I’m number 66 on the waiting list,” she said. “The council tells me, ‘You’ll get a house when you get a house.’”

Tracey lost her leg in August 2020 due to complications from a congenital disorder and neurofibromatosis, which led to broken bones and severe pain throughout her life. She fears the constant strain on her remaining leg could result in further injury. “I’ve damaged the joints in my right leg from crawling up the stairs. I could lose it, too,” she explained.

Her condition has attracted attention from local politicians, who are criticizing the slow progress in resolving her situation. MSP Katy Clark expressed her shock at Tracey’s plight and criticized the cuts to the housing budget. “I am appalled to hear about Ms. Whiteside’s challenges. She deserves a safe, accessible home, but like many others, she’s being failed,” said Clark.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, stated, “Tracey shouldn’t have to endure this. Her current property is unsuitable for her needs, and she needs a move quickly. I’ve contacted Renfrewshire Council to push for action. Tracey can’t wait any longer.”

Renfrewshire Council said they are working to find suitable accommodation for Tracey and her family. A spokesperson said, “Our Local Housing Office is working to source suitable accommodation for the Whiteside family and has arranged a home visit to discuss their needs.”

Tracey hopes that raising awareness about her situation will expedite the process. “I just want a home where I can live with dignity,” she said.

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