Rose Williams shows the buckets she filled to wash herself while she waited for hot water system repairs.
Rose Williams shows the buckets she filled to wash herself while she waited for hot water system repairs. Adam Hourigan

Rose finally gets hot water back

A 52-YEAR-old disabled pensioner, who has been boiling water to bathe in for the past fortnight, can thank The Daily Examiner for her hot shower this morning.

Rose Williams, who lives in a Housing NSW unit in Pullen Close, Grafton, has battled the department for the past two weeks, attempting to have her faulty hot water service repaired.

The pensioner, who is battling osteoarthritis, had met a wall of indifference to her pleas and in some case outright rudeness since she first contacted Housing NSW on April 18.

However, only minutes after The Daily Examiner contacted the Grafton office of Housing NSW, Ms Williams received a call from the department saying a contractor would be despatched ASAP to deal with her problem.

The speed of that response contrasts starkly with the advice she received initially, when she was told she would have to wait three days for assistance.

Then on Saturday, after a 15-minute wait on the help hotline, she was promised assistance would arrive that day.

No-one showed up.

Another call on Sunday yielded the response that hopefully someone would come that day.

The presumption of one Housing NSW staffer was particularly galling to Ms Williams as she prepares for a hip replacement operation late in May.

“My doctor told me to keep clean and healthy before the operation. He told me any skin problem, even a pimple, might mean my operation could be cancelled,” Ms Williams said.

“When I talked to the housing commission their operator told me that not showering properly wouldn’t affect the overall health of a disabled woman on an operation waiting list.”

Ms Williams’ daughter, Charmaine Davies, has been helping her mother, taking her home for a shower when possible.

Ms Davies works out of town as a contract fencer and she is not always available to help her mum.

She said her mother had contacted NSW Housing daily since April 19 after she first reported the fault on April 17.

She also contacted Country Energy, who sent a team around the following day to check power from the mains to her meter box.

They told her that was in order and recommended she keep the hot water service turned off in case any loose wires caused a fire.

“Mum’s been doing a lot of things to help her save electricity,” Ms Davies said.

“She keeps the hot water service turned off and only switches it on 20 minutes before she has a shower.

“Country Energy told her she has been doing a marvellous job cutting her power bills.

“But a woman from the housing commission told her she was doing the wrong thing and that she might have damaged the hot water service.”

The Daily Examiner phoned the local number of Housing NSW yesterday and talked to a spokesperson who said she was not in a position to comment on the situation.

She said she would make some calls and get a member of staff with the authorisation to speak to the media to contact the paper.

The Housing NSW media spokesperson failed to contact the paper by late yesterday.



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