'Devastated' Havant family moved into temporary accommodation for 3rd time in 2 months after repairs on home damaged by Storm Eunice still not completed
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Beleaguered Anita and Sid Hopkins, along with one of their daughters and her partner, are at the ‘end of their tether’ and currently living in a Travelodge in Rowlands Castle after their three-bedroom house, in Plumley Walk, was severely damaged.
On February 18 both the main roof and the front porch roof came away as winds of around 70mph hit the region.
As a result much of the property was exposed to rain leaving the contents, furniture, electrics and decor compromised.
Anita, 66, said: ‘It was so awful. Everything in the house was completely soaked through, there was so much water on the floor.’
They were relocated to a hotel for two weeks by their housing provider, The Guinness Partnership, and then again to an apartment in Gunwharf Quays until April 13.
The parents-of-five were then told by Guinness they had to return on April 14 even though every single thing they own was still in storage – including beds, the fridge, sofas, washing machine, chairs, carpet and even cutlery – and were assured all necessary repairs were completed.
However, when they arrived that morning having prepared to move back in, it was in an ‘unlivable state.’
‘It was still in awful condition,’ Anita said.
‘I could see in the face of our liaison officer when he walked in that he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
‘The porch was full of insulation and plasterboard, the carpet gripper was still exposed and the water pipes for the washing machine weren’t capped.
‘The gas boiler wasn’t working.’
The family were then moved into a different hotel – the Travelodge – and told the necessary repairs would be completed by Friday (April 22).
Anita, who is a carer for her mum who lives in Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s like we were just forgotten about.
‘We’ve lived there 25 years and paid our rent with no problems but we’ve been treated like this. It’s brutal.
‘They’ve shown no empathy and no understanding that we are stressed.
‘I’m sceptical that the work will be done by Friday, given what’s happened so far.’
Delivery driver Sid, 58, added: ‘What I don’t understand is the last few weeks they’ve been telling us we’re not allowed back in the property because work was still ongoing but then they said we’ve got to move back in and it was essentially still a worksite.’
A spokesman for the Guinness Partnership, said: ‘We apologise for this situation which resulted from a miscommunication between ourselves and our contractors.
‘As soon as we became aware, we arranged further alternative accommodation for Ms Hopkins and her family. The further works required to ensure the property is fit to move back into are being carried out and Ms Hopkins will be kept updated on progress.
‘We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused, and for the length of time Ms Hopkins and her family have been away from their home – there was significant damage to the property caused by the storm.
‘The Hopkins’ belongings were held in storage for their insurers to assess – we understand this assessment is happening currently and we have advised them to speak to their insurers about this.’