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Family of Croydon toddler who made miracle recovery from leukaemia made homeless

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A TODDLER who made a miraculous recovery from leukaemia has been left without a home after a housing association placed his family in a 'void' property.

Three-year-old J'Ssiah Brown, from Kenley, was given a life-saving bone marrow donation by his six-year-old brother, Kyerell, last year after being diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia in June 2013.

Now J'Ssiah has no immune system and must live in a clean environment.

He also cannot stay long in public places.

J'Ssiah's doctors wrote to Croydon Council explaining this. Wandle Housing Association found his family a permanent home in September this year, ready for J'Ssiah's release from hospital in November.

But when J'Ssiah's mum, Jeanene Walters, went to the property she found it had no heating, no flooring, the plaster on the walls was crumbling and there were no fire alarms.

"They said we had to accept it or I would make myself intentionally homeless," she said. "I can't explain how I felt, I poured a bucket of bleach over the whole house."

Jeanene moved into the house with J'Ssiah, Kyerell and her six-year-old daughter Ashiya at the beginning of November.

But she said the house was so ramshackle that, on one occasion, when J'Ssiah was in hospital, she became locked in a bedroom for two-and-a-half hours after the door handle broke.

"A passerby saw me stuck in the room and went home and got tools for me and threw them up, so I could get out," said Jeanene. "Imagine if J'Ssiah had been locked in the room and needed medication and I couldn't get to him. It's disgusting."

Numerous workmen went to repair the house but Jeanene said the condition was so poor they refused to do anything.

And then a surveyor sent by Wandle to look at the property deemed it "void".

Jeanene said the family were told they would have to move out while the house was renovated.

But J'Ssiah's health means he cannot live in an hotel and the family stayed with Jeanene's mum, until she was unable to cope and they had to go to friends.

Jeanene and her children had stayed with two friends when the Advertiser spoke to her on Monday. They had to all sleep in one bed and she did not know where they would go that night.

"Wandle have found a property for two weeks from now but we haven't got two weeks. I'm homeless," she said.

"My whole life has been uprooted since we had to move out of that house. I have nowhere to rest my head, my children have nowhere.

"The amount of stress is ridiculous, I have to laugh otherwise I'd be having a nervous breakdown.

"I feel really low. I should have somewhere for my kids to go, especially with J'Ssiah's condition."

A spokesman for Croydon council said Wandle is now Jeanene's landlord, and the case is now its responsibility. He added: "The last thing we did before Wandle became Ms Walters' landlord was to make sure the property her family was moving into was suitable for their needs."

Wandle Housing Association also said the house met their quality standards and they have done everything they can to support Jeanene's family.

Wandle's statement: 

A Wandle spokesman said: "Since Ms Walters was allocated a Wandle home by Croydon Council in September 2014, we have done everything we possibly can to support the family and meet J'ssiah's health needs.

"Our then repairs contractor and a member of Wandle staff inspected the property prior to them moving in, and we are confident that it met our agreed quality standard.

"Sometime after the family moved in, we were able to bring forward the improvement works to the property and we prioritised Ms Walters' home for a new kitchen, bathroom and general modernisation. In order to carry out these works, whilst accommodating J'ssiah's health needs, Ms Walters and her family needed to move out temporarily. 

"We were assured that Ms Walters had made arrangements to stay with family during this period and we provided a package of financial and practical support totalling more than £1000 to help the family during this period.

"We only became aware of Ms Walters' change of circumstances on Monday morning. Since then we have worked tirelessly to find a more permanent solution for the family, and we will continue to do so."

Family of Croydon toddler who made miracle recovery from leukaemia made homeless


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