Deptford mum left without hot water for four years in 'third world' conditions

Deptford mum left without hot water for four years in 'third world' conditions

Juliette Greenidge had to boil kettles of water to bathe her children, pictured with her son Ore Greenidge, 1

Juliette Greenidge pictured with her son Ore Greenidge, 1

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A Deptford mum is planning to sue after living for four years without hot water in conditions likened to the "third world".

Juliette Greenidge was forced to boil between 16 to 20 kettles every day to bathe her baby, her six-year-old daughter and herself and keep her flat clean.

News Shopper: Deptford mum left without hot water for four years in 'third world' conditions

The 23-year-old has spoken of the "unbearable frustration" when her housing association New World insisted she had water for four years and the "relief" when an engineer finally turned it on a fortnight ago.

The mum-of-two, who lives in Childers Street, told News Shopper: "It became so, so unbearable sometimes.

"At the time I didn’t feel like I was living in a third world country, but afterwards I realised how much time it had all taken up. Some people take hot water for granted.

"I was very frustrated. I feel I was just a quiet voice and they could just hush me, because they were not in the situation themselves."

Bath-time took around three hours to fill the tub with kettle-loads of hot water for the family of three and Ms Greenidge says the appliances frequently broke down through over-use.

She says she continually complained to the housing association about the problem but was "not believed" and even had to pay off a £160 debt for water she was not getting.

Winters could be freezing and the family sometimes had to sleep together in the front room and buy several heaters to cope with the cold.

Ms Greenidge, who continued to attend college and worked as a mental health support worker after she first fell pregnant, struggled with depression during this time.

She said: "When I got pregnant again, everything just because overwhelming for me.

"Having another child in this housing situation, dealing with that, no water and heating, it was hard.

"I had to be on the ball so if it was bath time, it would take an hour. After I had bathed my daughter, then the baby, by the time I got to myself, I would sometimes have to do bucket baths because I was so exhausted."

She says she "learnt tricks" over time to cope such as pouring the boiled water into a bucket first to stop it cooling down.

Speaking of New World, she added: "Because of my age, I feel they didn’t take me seriously. They would say, ‘it doesn’t seem like someone would live like that.’ I would say, it isn’t by choice.

"A housing officer came down saying what I had was adequate – it was possibly 30 seconds of warm water from everyone else’s pipes.

"I was continually patronized and belittled about my situation."

She claims an engineer finally found on May 22 the housing association had never switched on the water at a point outside her home and the meter was faulty.

She said: "It was such a relief.

"My daughter was so excited, just jumping up and down. I didn’t know whether to feel embarrassed or not, I didn’t want people thinking we are filthy people which we are not.

"I remember calling up my sister to say I had hot water, saying ‘it is just coming out of the taps’, she said, ‘yes, it just does that’."

New World was contacted by News Shopper and declined to comment.

Comments (7)

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11:07am Tue 3 Jun 14

PoppyGreenLeaf says...

4 Years! Something doesnt quite add up.
4 Years! Something doesnt quite add up. PoppyGreenLeaf
  • Score: 7

12:50pm Tue 3 Jun 14

sarfflondonbird says...

PoppyGreenLeaf wrote:
4 Years! Something doesnt quite add up.
Exactly what I was thinking when I was reading the article.
How would you put up with that for four months let alone four years? Anybody else would have been harassing the housing association like nobodies business, failing that, harassing the local MP or councillor until something was done about it. I am pretty sure she must have known what her rights were, or someone would have told her or even acted on her behalf. Maybe on the other hand, she was harassing the housing association, but not in respect of water issues.
[quote][p][bold]PoppyGreenLeaf[/bold] wrote: 4 Years! Something doesnt quite add up.[/p][/quote]Exactly what I was thinking when I was reading the article. How would you put up with that for four months let alone four years? Anybody else would have been harassing the housing association like nobodies business, failing that, harassing the local MP or councillor until something was done about it. I am pretty sure she must have known what her rights were, or someone would have told her or even acted on her behalf. Maybe on the other hand, she was harassing the housing association, but not in respect of water issues. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 3

5:41pm Tue 3 Jun 14

brommum3 says...

I would think living in Deptford was already similar to living in third world , without having no water to add to your problems!
I would think living in Deptford was already similar to living in third world , without having no water to add to your problems! brommum3
  • Score: 5

12:31pm Wed 4 Jun 14

shabina says...

surely her health visitor, would have seen how cold her flat was and asked her if she had any troubles !!! she has a young baby so he health visitor would do visits.. its fixed now, and now she comes to the local paper about it !!! yes she is young, and maybe would not know what to do, but she has family, who she could have asked advice off.. ... just quite a strange story really, 4 years with no hot water and heating, , she said the housing association did not turn the water on from outside her property, well then she should not have any water at all ... strange strange strange ...
surely her health visitor, would have seen how cold her flat was and asked her if she had any troubles !!! she has a young baby so he health visitor would do visits.. its fixed now, and now she comes to the local paper about it !!! yes she is young, and maybe would not know what to do, but she has family, who she could have asked advice off.. ... just quite a strange story really, 4 years with no hot water and heating, , she said the housing association did not turn the water on from outside her property, well then she should not have any water at all ... strange strange strange ... shabina
  • Score: 6

12:05pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Juleyjulez says...

After reading some of the comments I am saddened and moved to comment in response. The whole point of making my story public was to expose my housing association, New World, as I was constantly harassing them for help with the matter only to be shut down. Even when visited by them nothing was ever done! I did look up my rights and it is not illegal to not have hot water which is what the housing played on. Also a health visitors job description does not include checking plumbing work. I had an amazing home birth midwifery team who and health visitor team all of which were very happy with my parenting and their environment as they benefit from from a fulfilling life. Yes the situation has finally been resolved and I am truly grateful but does that mean I should keep quiet? No, my housing association have been ignoring not only myself but other tenants about various complaints, we need to be taken seriously and by exposing them I'm hoping they will stop their ways. I've never expected anyone to understand my 'strange' situation and that is it you do not understand. You don't understand how I've been pushed aside, hushed and now to read such comments. How small minded
After reading some of the comments I am saddened and moved to comment in response. The whole point of making my story public was to expose my housing association, New World, as I was constantly harassing them for help with the matter only to be shut down. Even when visited by them nothing was ever done! I did look up my rights and it is not illegal to not have hot water which is what the housing played on. Also a health visitors job description does not include checking plumbing work. I had an amazing home birth midwifery team who and health visitor team all of which were very happy with my parenting and their environment as they benefit from from a fulfilling life. Yes the situation has finally been resolved and I am truly grateful but does that mean I should keep quiet? No, my housing association have been ignoring not only myself but other tenants about various complaints, we need to be taken seriously and by exposing them I'm hoping they will stop their ways. I've never expected anyone to understand my 'strange' situation and that is it you do not understand. You don't understand how I've been pushed aside, hushed and now to read such comments. How small minded Juleyjulez
  • Score: 4

12:19pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Busymother says...

Strange to see the public doing the exact same thing, the housing did to this young mother.
I'm sure many faults we all have with our homes we just brush off our shoulders and get on with, until someone else says " wait a minute that's not right".

It's clear to see the young mum, decided to get on with it. After being ignored and belittled so many times. I'm sure anyone not educated on their rights would have decided the same.

And I read above surely someone would advice her. Perhaps she does not have a supporting family like yourself. And perhaps it would have been impossible for health visitors to detect no heating, as it was infact the summer season....
Strange to see the public doing the exact same thing, the housing did to this young mother. I'm sure many faults we all have with our homes we just brush off our shoulders and get on with, until someone else says " wait a minute that's not right". It's clear to see the young mum, decided to get on with it. After being ignored and belittled so many times. I'm sure anyone not educated on their rights would have decided the same. And I read above surely someone would advice her. Perhaps she does not have a supporting family like yourself. And perhaps it would have been impossible for health visitors to detect no heating, as it was infact the summer season.... Busymother
  • Score: 2

12:34pm Thu 5 Jun 14

shabina says...

she has now decided to contact the local paper, now she has dealt with it !!! no one, no matter how young would really go with out hot water and heating for herself and young daughters... has she never heard of citizen advice!! I know I did when I was that age ...
she has now decided to contact the local paper, now she has dealt with it !!! no one, no matter how young would really go with out hot water and heating for herself and young daughters... has she never heard of citizen advice!! I know I did when I was that age ... shabina
  • Score: -1

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