A family of six continues to endure the challenges of being stuck on the council house waiting list, a plight exacerbated by the traumatic experience of their nine-year-old daughter, Shonalisa Sambizi, narrowly escaping death in a crash two years ago. The incident, which occurred in January 2022 near their Norton home on Pinfold Avenue, left Shonalisa in a coma with severe injuries, including a broken pelvis, damaged spleen, punctured lung, broken femur, and a broken ankle.

Compounding the family’s struggle was the impracticality of their Norton rental property, where Shonalisa had to reside in the living room for five months due to her wheelchair being too large to navigate through the doors. The family is now urgently seeking a council property with flat access, hoping to distance themselves from the traumatic memories associated with the Pinfold Avenue accident, told Stoke on Trent Live.

Recounting the harrowing incident, Shonalisa’s mother, Lisa, expressed her distress: “The car wasn’t slowing down, and it hit her. When it hit her, she went from the front of the car, underneath it, and came out the back. The driver carried on with her body under the car for three car lengths. I was shouting at the driver to stop the car. When my daughter came out, her bones were all over the place. Her femur was completely out of her body.”

Shonalisa’s journey to recovery was marked by airlift to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and days spent in a coma, with medical professionals preparing her family for the worst. Miraculously, she pulled through, undergoing a successful operation and defying expectations. Despite her recovery, the family faced challenging living conditions and reached out to the council for assistance.

Lisa, emphasizing the urgent need for suitable housing, shared, “The living conditions were disgusting. I kept ringing the council about a house. I told the occupational therapist that I felt like I was losing my mind. I needed to be strong to look after my daughter.”

Living near the accident site exacerbates the family’s emotional distress, with Lisa grappling with PTSD and facing the painful reminder daily. Shonalisa, now back at Ball Green Primary School after the May half-term break in 2022, experienced further challenges due to the family’s living conditions.

The council’s response to their pleas for housing assistance has been less than satisfactory, with Lisa expressing disappointment: “The council just keeps saying ‘We’ll move you, but it’s a matter of waiting.’ They say there are no properties available. I’m in a private rental but I cannot afford to move to another private property with how expensive it is now.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council acknowledged the family’s situation and is actively seeking a suitable property. Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, stated, “We are working hard to identify a suitable property to meet their needs as soon as possible, despite having a limited number of available properties.” The family’s plight underscores the critical need for prompt and compassionate action to provide a stable and supportive living environment, allowing them to move forward from the traumatic events of the past.

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