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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
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.
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.
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