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Welfare concerns for ‘homeless’ wheelchair user

Welfare concerns for ‘homeless’ wheelchair user

Monday 07 September 2020

Welfare concerns for ‘homeless’ wheelchair user


Local authorities have stressed they are keeping a close eye on an electric wheelchair user, who arrived on the island several weeks ago and has reportedly been sleeping rough ever since, after scores of islanders raised concerns about her welfare.

Since arriving in Jersey, the elderly woman has been seen in various locations around the island carrying a number of large bags.

Believed to be homeless, the woman has particularly been spotted in St. Brelade, as well as Trinity, St. Saviour, St. Martin and town. 

Increasing numbers of islanders have been sharing their concerns for her welfare on social media, reporting that she has been sleeping in unsheltered areas and questioning whether she had access to food and drink.

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Pictured: Islanders raised their concerns on social media, with one post attracting nearly 200 comments.

A number of road users said that she is often moving along roads at night with no lights, and that they had made reports to the Police. 

Some have added that the woman has rejected attempts to help her, although businesses and residents have given her access to a plug to recharge her wheelchair.

News of the woman’s activities led to questions as to how she had managed to arrive and move around the island during the pandemic without a fixed address when this was required on the pre-departure registration form. 

A number of islanders also queried whether Jersey's authorities had done anything to help.

During the early stages of the pandemic, there had been a drive to get homeless islanders into sheltered accommodation for their health and safety.

A Police spokesperson has since said that the force has “engaged” with the woman on a number of occasions and it was working alongside other agencies to help her.

Police Headquarters

Pictured: Police said they had spoken to the woman.

"We are working alongside key stakeholders to address any vulnerabilities the woman may have and ensure she is able to access services required," they continued.

Asked how the woman is being helped, a Government spokesperson added: “We are not able to release any personal details in relation to individual cases but we can confirm that multiple agencies, both in Government of Jersey and partner services, are aware of a person who uses a mobility scooter whom members of the public have raised concerns for.

“All agencies are working together to provide the best assistance they can to this person.

“Being homeless is not against the law, but we do appreciate that it causes legitimate concern within the community when it appears someone might be, and we would like to thank the public for their vigilance."

They went on to urge islanders with any concerns for other individuals to report them to the Police: “Any immediate concerns for the welfare of vulnerable individuals can be referred to States of Jersey Police by calling 612612 or 999 in an emergency.”

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