HOUSING chiefs have defended City of York Council’s housing policies after the parents of a dead baby girl said their damp, crowded flat could have contributed to the tragedy.
The Press reported yesterday how 11-month-old Telan Carlton died after being taken ill at her family’s one-bedroom flat in Chapelfields.
Her mother Kia Stone said the damp and mould in the property, which was home to four people, may have played a part in the sudden death.
Now Steve Waddington, assistant director of housing and community safety at the council, said it is supporting three downsizing initiatives in York, aimed at allowing people living in properties which are too large for them to move to a smaller council home.
He said initiatives in Tang Hall, Acomb and Huntington had already seen the release of 22 family homes.
Mr Waddington said: “Earlier this year we let 19 new family homes on Archer Close – the first to be built in over 20 years in York – and last week Broadacres Housing Association was granted planning permission for the former YWCA site on Water Lane for 23 affordable homes, including 16 apartments that will be prioritised for tenants who wish to downsize from their existing homes.
“Completion of the development will be in early 2014. City of York Council will be proposing to prioritise their allocation to tenants downsizing from houses and the anticipated completion is early 2014.”
He also said the council was working on a fourth downsizing project which would be launched shortly.
“We anticipate that welfare reform and particularly ‘the bedroom tax’ will increase the interest in and need for downsizing opportunities among social tenants.”
Telan and her family featured in a Guardian film, made in association with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), just four weeks before her death, as part of a production highlighting the problem of housing in York.
Kathleen Kelly, policy and research manager at JRF said: “The sad death of Telan in her cot only four weeks after filming demonstrates Kia’s resilience in allowing this film to be shown.
“Call me naïve but it also highlights for me how we might get further on campaigns to build new homes and address under occupation if we made sure that stories like these were heard.”
CITY of York Council said anyone wishing to downsize can:
• Talk to their estate manager
• Phone the council on 01904 554044
• Look for a new social tenancy through the York and North Yorkshire Home Choice scheme at york.gov.uk/housing/Council_housing/applying/bidding/ where tenants who are downsizing are given priority
• Visit homeswapper.co.uk which is free for social housing tenants.”