A MAN is the only tenant in a high-rise block of 50 flats – and says he won't move despite the council offering him six other places to live.
Dad-of-four Ezekiel Hermon is the only remaining tenant in the doomed Birmingham block, which is due to be demolished.
Ezekiel, 46, watched all 50 of his neighbours move out of Saxelby House in Druids Heath more than 12 months ago.
The concrete tower is studded with empty balconies, smashed windows taped into place and is covered with graffiti.
He said the lifts don’t work – and if they do, the lights don’t – and yobs have attempted to smash through many of the padlocked doors and boarded up entrances.
Now, more than two years into the efforts to rehouse tenants ahead of the £43m regeneration, the unfit, rundown block should be empty.
Birmingham City Council has offered Ezekiel six properties, but they have either been one-bedroom flats – not suitable for his young children to stay over – or two bedroom properties in over 55's blocks, he claims.
The latest “unsuitable” offer was a retirement bungalow, with adaptations for disabilities including a wash room and lowered kitchen worktops, the 46-year-old said.
The dad, who has lived in the block for 25 years, said: "I've lived on my own for over a year now. I've not been given any suitable accommodation to leave. I've just been left here, alone.”
He added: "It's been horrible. I've been here for 25 years so I'm always used to people walking around, but it's weird when no one's here because of any little noise, you know that you're the only one that's here, so who else has come in?
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"You just see everybody moving out, and you're in here, alone. Not even alone for one month, not two months, but a year.
"There's no way of even trying to get out because I'm being stopped from leaving."
The dad said the block has fallen into serious disrepair, and he claims he had to make repeated calls to the council to get them to tape up shattered glass over fears it could fall on him or his children.
And he is now facing a possession order in court to get him out of the flat.
But Ezekiel is a family man who just wants a suitable property where his kids can stay over, he insisted.
He said: "I leave my kids’ rooms a mess after they've been and after a while, I tidy it up. I just like to see that my children came in here."
And the devoted dad even sleeps on the sofa when his children stay over.
He said: "This is their home as well as my home, and I'm having to bring them somewhere where it's considered dangerous, why do my children have to come in here and be subjected to that, when no other tenants' children had to be put through this?
Ezekiel claims the block is so cold that he is forced to blast his heating to keep him and his kids warm.
He said: "My electric company got in touch because they wanted to know why such a high amount was being used.
FREEZING TOWER BLOCK
"I used more electricity off peak in those nine hours than two family homes to keep them warm. Because once I turn off the heating , it just goes cold.
"There's no heating coming up, so the floor is constantly freezing cold, even if I put it on high. "
The dad was forced to spend a second Christmas alone in the abanonded block this year as he claims Birmingham City Council are “not listening” to him.
He said: "There are tenants that have moved out of this block, rehoused comfortably, they will be having their third Christmas in their new home.
"Now I'll be having my second Christmas alone. I never chose this to happen, this has been put on me.
"I'm trying to get out, I'm not blocking anyone, I'm trying to cooperate, but they're not listening, there's something in the way."
The dad will now plead his case in front of a judge after a possession order was lodged to boot him out of the flat.
Community activist Desmond Jaddoo has been helping with Ezekiel’s court case ahead of January, with him offering advice and support.
He branded the actions of Birmingham City Council as "highly questionable".
I'm trying to get out, I'm not blocking anyone, I'm trying to cooperate, but they're not listening, there's something in the way.
Mr Jaddoo said: "The fact that he utilises both bedrooms and this property is of no consequence to Birmingham City Council and it is of no consequence in their view that they created this issue with the neglect of their housing stock with the need to demolish it.
"Their actions have led to this issue and it would appear that they are pushing Mr Hermon around as opposed to taking into account his current living circumstances which occupies a two bedroom flat.
"The council will talk about their policy however there is provision within their policy for them to use their discretion and it would appear that unfortunately this is not the case despite us raising this with the leader of the council as well."
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: "Mr Hermon has been the last resident in Saxelby House since November 2020 and has not placed any bids for alternative accommodation since rehousing began.
"For this reason, management bids for alternative accommodation have been placed for him. Mr Hermon has been made six offers, three one-bedroom and three two-bedroom, all of which have been refused.
"Mr Hermon was served with a Notice of Seeking Possession and a court hearing date of January 21, 2022, has been set to gain vacant possession of the property.
"The latest offer made to Mr Hermon of a one-bedroom bungalow in one of his preferred areas has been made prior to the court hearing date.
"Mr Hermon attended the viewing of this bungalow on September 27, 2021, and refused this as being too small.
"We are holding this offer for Mr Hermon until the court hearing as it is in line with the Allocation Policy as a reasonable offer of accommodation."
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