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Cancer patient slept on floor for three months

Glenys Blanch of Ballina is a cancer patient from living in community housing that was forces to sleep on the floor when a hot water system broke and dump 250 litres of water through her bedroom roof and onto her bed.
Glenys Blanch of Ballina is a cancer patient from living in community housing that was forces to sleep on the floor when a hot water system broke and dump 250 litres of water through her bedroom roof and onto her bed. Patrick Gorbunovs

A BONE cancer patient who had been sleeping on the floor of her Ballina community housing unit for three months is elated she will soon be able to sleep in her bed again.

"I was thrilled, I could not believe it when I got a phone call saying my mattress would be replaced," she said.

"I'm so happy."

After visiting friends on Christmas Day, Glenys Blanch came home to her unit, managed by On Track Community Programs, to find her expensive bed soaked and a gaping hole in the ceiling.

"A pipe on the solar hot water heater burst and there was a six foot by four foot (1.8m by 1.2m) hole in the ceiling and 250 litres of water had covered my bed and the bedroom," she said.

"The builder who eventually fixed the ceiling and a few of my friends said. 'You could have been killed'."

For the next three weeks until the damage was repaired, Ms Blanch stayed at a motel, paid for by OTCP.

She said the incident happened following three visits from a plumber since late November to the two-year-old unit, after she reported water damage on her bedroom ceiling following a severe storm.

But Ms Blanch, who didn't have contents insurance, has been left fighting OTCP to be compensated for her bed for three months while sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag.

Ms Blanch is in her mid-60s and said all she wanted was a good night's sleep in what was her comfortable bed.

"My mattress was allergy free; it was dust mite free so it was an expensive one."

Yesterday after OTCP was contacted by The Northern Star about Ms Blanch's situation they agreed to replace the mattress.

OTCP's acting chief executive, Tracey Lawson, said in light of special circumstances On Track had agreed to replace the mattress. She was pleased Ms Blanch was not injured in the event.

"I would like to thank Ms Blanch for bringing to my attention that the mattress was unable to be cleaned without further damage due to the special herb underlays within the mattress," she said.

Topics:  cancer community housing on track community programs public housing



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