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Govt heating jam cold comfort for family

Date

Stephanie Anderson

ACT government housing tenant, Shehata Mohamed with his children, (from left) Rola, 12, Rua, 6, Rayan, 2, and Ramy, 15. Shehata claims the government wont fix his heating despite numerous requests.

ACT government housing tenant, Shehata Mohamed with his children, (from left) Rola, 12, Rua, 6, Rayan, 2, and Ramy, 15. Shehata claims the government wont fix his heating despite numerous requests. Photo: Melissa Adams

A Canberran family has been left without heating at their public housing address for more than two months, despite making numerous requests for repairs to the ACT government.

The lack of heating is one of many issues Mohamed Shehata has raised about the Gowrie house that he shares with his wife and four children, the eldest of which is severely disabled.

An occupational therapy relocation report completed by a government official in 2009 stated that heating was essential for the family's home, as 15-year-old Ramy's cerebral palsy leaves him vulnerable to changing temperatures.

''A heating and cooling system for the house is required to ensure the house can be kept at a consistent temperature,'' it stated.

But despite repeated requests, Mr Shehata said the system remained broken.

Mr Shehata has also raised concerns over rain damage and the lack of concrete paving outside the back and side of the home for his wheelchair-bound son.

A Community Services Directorate spokesman said the government had been aware of issues with heating for more than two months, with Mr Shehata and agencies acting on his behalf contacting Housing ACT and its total facilities manager Spotless several times since February 20.

The spokesman said representatives from both organisations had inspected the property a number of times since early March, resulting in new parts being ordered for the heating system.

A senior officer from Housing ACT called Mr Shehata on Tuesday to apologise for the delay in fixing the heater, the replacement parts for which are due to arrive tomorrow.

''Housing ACT has delivered three heaters to the family for their use until the heater is repaired,'' he said.

The Shehata family's wait for repairs has stretched beyond the expected timeframes set out by the ACT government, which vary from four hours to 20 days, depending on categorisation.

The Community Services Directorate spokesman said 94 per cent of work orders were completed within the expected timeframe throughout March.

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