Mother of disabled son claims she is ‘prisoner in her own home’

Jessica Sorlie and her four-year-old son Brandon who is autistic. Jessica is finding it difficult living in a squalid second-floor flat that is accessed by a particularly steep flight of stairs.
Jessica Sorlie and her four-year-old son Brandon who is autistic. Jessica is finding it difficult living in a squalid second-floor flat that is accessed by a particularly steep flight of stairs.
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A MUM whose young son faces a daily struggle to walk claims she has been left “a prisoner in her own home” after housing bosses moved her into a second-floor flat.

Jessica Sorlie, 20, said the stairs to her rented property in Broadsheath Terrace, Southwick, feel like “climbing a mountain” to three-year-old son Brendan-Junior Dorothy.

Jessica Sorlie and her four-year-old son Brandon who is autistic. Jessica is finding it difficult living in a squalid second-floor flat that is accessed by a particularly steep flight of stairs.

Jessica Sorlie and her four-year-old son Brandon who is autistic. Jessica is finding it difficult living in a squalid second-floor flat that is accessed by a particularly steep flight of stairs.

The youngster, who has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder, suffers from sensory and behavioural problems, as well as mobility difficulties.

“At the end of the day, his joints ache so much he struggles to walk sometimes,” said the single mum-of-two.

“I can’t even go out to the shops because it’s such a nightmare to get up and down the stairs with the children.

“I can’t even go out for a loaf of bread. It’s like climbing a mountain.

The flat also has damp and mould. It isn’t healthy for us.

“I feel like a prisoner in my own home.”

Jessica, who is also mum to one-year-old Kalvin-Lee Dorothy, said she is entitled to a three-bedroom property under housing guidelines, but has been left languishing on a waiting list for years.

“The doctors and specialists all say that the flat isn’t suitable for my son,” she said. “They are all on my side.

“We need to live in a bigger place.

“The flat only has two bedrooms and there is no where for him to play outside.

“The flat also has damp and mould. It isn’t healthy for us.” Medics also say Brendan-Junior, who attends the New Beginnings Nursery, in Southwick, needs to live locally in familiar surroundings in order to ease his health problems, according to Jessica, who was staying with her ex-partner before moving into the flat more than two years ago.

“Brendan-Junior needs to be in a safe and familiar environment,” she said.

“It’s no good uprooting him to the other side of the city, but anywhere in Southwick or Hylton Castle will do.

“I was desperate for somewhere to live when I first moved into the flat and was on the waiting list for a house even then.

“I’m now at the stage where I need to change.

“I know there are suitable houses out there. There must be.”

Lucy Malarkey, deputy director, Gentoo Operations, said: “Miss Sorlie is living in privately-rented accommodation and is registered on our waiting list for social housing.

“However, naturally, there is more demand for some properties than others.

“We have arranged a meeting with Miss Sorlie to further discuss her housing situation, ensuring she gets all of the right advice and guidance.

“We understand everyone’s situation is different and we will endeavour to help Miss Sorlie as best we can.”