Mum with one leg forced to crawl up concrete stairs to flat as 100 homes lie empty

Tracey faces a painful crawl up to her second floor flat
Tracey faces a painful crawl up to her second floor flat -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record

A disabled mum with one leg is forced to crawl up 17 concrete stairs to her flat while 100 ex-council homes lie empty nearby.

Tracey Whiteside, 48, has been told she is a priority for a new accessible home by council chiefs, but has waited almost four years for them to provide one.

The mum-of-one from Linwood faces an agonising trip to and from her second floor flat across stairs which she says have been urinated on - and her painful climbs have also seen her dodge needles left by drug users.

Tracey is begging for a move to somewhere accessible
Tracey is begging for a move to somewhere accessible -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record

Meanwhile, we previously reported how up to 100 ex-council homes have been deserted in Ferguslie, just over a mile away from Tracecy, with Renfrewshire Council set to bulldoze the properties.

Tracey, who says her ordeal is wreaking havoc on her mental health, has now hit out at a lack of action over boarded-up and crumbling buildings throughout the area - where people in desperate need could be housed.

She told the Record: “I’ve been forced to crawl up concrete stairs on my hands and knees to get to my front door whilst there is 100 homes lying empty down the road.

“Why can’t one of those homes be adapted to suit people like me? But the council will probably knock them down and sell off the instead of building new homes as well. It’s happening everywhere and people like me are left prisoners in our own homes.

“I can’t even go for a bath because my whole flat is unsuitable. I even need to crawl about my home to get the toilet. It’s soul destroying.”

Tracey lost her leg in August 2020 after giving in to 40 years of trauma brought on by a congenital disorder and neurofibromatosis which saw her break her leg when she was just 16 months old.

The disabled mum has to crawl through her tiny flat
The disabled mum has to crawl through her tiny flat -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record

She also suffers from non-cancerous tumours in her spine as a result of her condition, which has left her in crippling pain her whole life.

She now only leaves the house for critical reasons such as GP appointments or to a local support group for amputees.

She continued: “I only go out unless I absolutely have to. There’s days when I just feel like giving up and I feel as if its all my fault or that I’m just putting extra stress on my family.

Tracey fears the filthy stairs will be the death of her
Tracey fears the filthy stairs will be the death of her -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record

“It’s badly affecting my mental health and I’ve got absolutely no dignity. The stairs are so filthy and I’m surprised I’ve not caught any infections going up them.

“Sometimes I’ve crawled through urine and not realised it, I’ve often burst into tears when I’ve been dragging myself up them in crippling pain.

“It’s even worse if somebody else is there and your on your hands and knees like an animal.”

Tracey fears the stairs will be the death of her, with doctors concerned that the constant strain on her remaining leg could cause her to lose it as well.

She said: “I’ve damaged the joints in my right leg doing it. I dislocated my shoulder and fractured my collar bone from crawling up the stairs.

“The damage that is being done to my other leg means I could lose it.

“My health is only going to get worse and worse living here. I feel like these stairs will be death of me.”

Tracey is begging for her torture to end and sees a new home as the only option to the fresh start she desperately needs.

It's nearly four years since Tracey lost her leg
It's nearly four years since Tracey lost her leg -Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record

She added: “I keep being told I’m priority, but this has been the same story since November 2019.

“I'm number 66 on the waiting list and when I speak to them all they say is ‘you’ll get a house when you get a house.'"

MSP Katy Clark says she is "appalled" by Tracey's situation as she blasted the housing emergency across the country.

MSP Katy Clark
MSP Katy Clark -Credit:Irvine Herald

The Scottish Labour MSP for West Scotland said: “I am appalled to hear of the challenges Ms Whiteside is facing. She deserves a safe and secure home that is accessible and suitable to her needs, but like so many she is being failed by those responsible for supporting her."

Ms Clark believes that councils have been forced to "fend for themselves," as she hit out at £200 million cuts in this year's housing budget.

She added: "Social housing in this country is broken. There must be no more excuses. Ministers should reverse budget cuts and aim to pursue a large-scale national acquisition policy."

Paisley and Renfrewshire North, MP Gavin Newlands
Paisley and Renfrewshire North, MP Gavin Newlands -Credit:PR Garry Quigley

MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands SNP said: “I met with Tracey at a visit a couple of weeks ago. Amputees simply shouldn’t have to put up with what Tracey has put up with for far too long.

"Her current property clearly isn’t suitable at all for her needs and she needs a move as quickly as possible to a house that accommodates her properly and maintains her dignity – which is unacceptably not the case at the moment."

“I’ve urgently contacted Renfrewshire Council to raise Tracey’s case and do whatever I can to speed things up. I understand the pressures they are under but Tracey simply can’t wait any longer."

A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Council said: “The health and wellbeing of our tenants is our top priority.

“Our Local Housing Office is working to source suitable accommodation for the Whiteside family to meet their needs and has arranged a home visit to discuss this with them and will continue to do everything we can to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. "

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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