Care home told elderly volunteer to get out

By Robyn Rosen, July 15, 2010

A great-grandmother was threatened with eviction from a London care home after the council delayed a decision to fund her fees for more than a year, leaving her £22,000 in debt.

The money is owed to Wembley's Edinburgh House, run by the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation.

Rene de Mesquita's daughter, Hilary Weinstein, said her mother, who is 89 years old and has myeloma, diabetes, leg ulcers, a heart condition, dementia and partial sight, moved into residential care in March 2009 and applied for funding from Brent council in June 2009 but has still not heard.

Last month, they were told if the fees were not paid, Mrs de Mesquita, who was a volunteer at Edinburgh House for more than 30 years, would need to find alternative accommodation.

"I was devastated," Mrs Weinstein said. "It's been absolutely traumatic. She will be left homeless."

Last week Mrs Weinstein was informed that the council had entered into an agreement with the home and will pay temporarily until investigations into the finances are complete.

Bernard Mocatta, chairman of the executive committee of Edinburgh House, said: "We already run at a deficit and if one person doesn't pay, that's £30,000 a year. We'd run out of money and would have to close the home.

"The object of the threat was primarily to put some pressure on Brent and it's worked."

But Mrs Weinstein said the situation was still confusing. "I don't know what happens if they don't agree further funding, or if we need to pay it back. They haven't answered any questions. They are treating us like dirt."

Last updated: 12:50pm, July 15 2010