The housing crisis and me

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Hear from people who are struggling to find housing to meet their needs, sent to us via our website.You can share your story too and help us draw attention to the housing crisis.

Amy, 24, Daventry

‘Me and my partner separated at the beginning of the year. As a result, me and our two children, aged 4 and 18 months, moved in with my mum. The following day I went to my local council and explained the whole situation and was told there was nothing they could do as I was the one that left the family home and therefore made myself effectively homeless.

‘To get into a private landlord property the upfront fees were £1000 minimum for a one bedroom flat. These people are meant to be here to help!’

Lisa, 28, County Durham

‘Me and my partner are a young family with four children - three are girls, and our eldest daughter is at the age where she needs to have her own room due to her growing up.

‘We used to live in Newcastle in a private rented house, where the landlord never did any repairs. We lived there for nine years, until last year when our gas boiler and gas meter were both condemned. We tried everything for the housing associations and local authorities to help and after eight weeks of no gas or hot water we had to move away from our friends and family. The stress has nearly destroyed our marriage and we are living too far from our family and friends, who I need around us as my husband is epileptic.

‘We just can’t settle where we are and now we are finding that a three bedroom isn’t big enough but there aren’t enough four bedroom houses. Private landlords charge too much for a deposit, especially when you’re on a low income. Even if me and my partner worked we would never afford to rent or buy. The way things are going I feel like I have been shoved out of my hometown.’

Ceecee, 27, London

‘I live in a one bedroom ground floor flat with my two boys who are aged three and eight. When I went to the council to ask how long it could take for me to move, they told me to turn my living room into a bedroom, just keep on bidding, look for home exchange or go private. I don’t know what to do because I’ve been doing everything and three years later I’m still here.’

Judy, 54, London

‘I have been temping for a long time and rented privately, but while claiming housing benefit I became behind in my rent and as a result of this have had to move. Private landlords will not give me a tenancy as they say I am not earning enough, and the local council told me they have no duty of care to provide me with housing. So I am staying in a room at a friend’s house but I have to move out by 17 June 2010.’

Wayne, 30, Wolverhampton

‘We are a family of four - two adults and two children (aged 16 months and four and a half years) - living in a one bedroom third floor flat. After getting this accommodation five years ago, we went straight back on the council waiting list and to this day we have still got nowhere bigger - after no end of phone calls to the council with the promise of a call back, which still to this day has not happened.

‘We have had two councillors involved in this, both Labour and Liberal Democrat - again another waste of time. Now I believe this is affecting my partner’s and children’s health. My eldest is having to have speech therapy and my partner is under a psychologist. I just hope this situation resolves soon before permanent damage is done.’

Mark, 48, Daventry

'I have been separated from my wife for six years. I have a one bedroom flat, and at the weekends and some other times my daughter has to share my bedroom and sleep on the floor. I would like to know my rights as I know this is not acceptable by today’s understanding of the law.'

Amanda, 35

'In December 2009 my husband kicked myself and our four children out of our home. We moved in with my mum, and l have put my name on the council waiting list for a house. But l'm still having to share a bedroom with four children all boys aged 6, 5, 2 and 1 years old. I feel like the council are doing nothing to help.'

Alice, 34, London

‘I am a single mother of two young children under the age of 10. I receive no maintenance money from the father, despite going through the CSA, and am struggling to find accommodation for myself and my family. I had to leave the marital home five years ago due to a violent relationship, and had no choice but to move into my mother's house to escape. I have been here for five years now.

'I am unable to go onto the housing register due to having a small lump sum of money from my ex-husband buying me out of our old flat as part of our divorce. But this money is not enough to get me onto the housing ladder on my own. Even though I work full time, the largest mortgage I can get is £108,000 which with my savings would mean under £150,000 for a flat in London - this is not possible. Shared ownership sounds like a good idea but I have found that you have to either live or work in the area of the development to even stand a chance of getting a flat. There seems to be very few, if any, in Haringey? So what are my options? Renting? Well earning £1,300 a month and a one bed flat in Haringey being at the very least £900 per month - I simply can't afford it. It would be pointless going to work.

'Where is the sense in cutting the housing budget when there are people like me and many more far worse off? What options do we have? I certainly do not know where I am going to go in three months time when I have to leave my mothers, as the house is in disrepair. On the street?'

Gail, 42, Rochdale

'I live with my two teenage children in a three bed house. I met my husband to be and he was going to move into my house. Six weeks before our wedding, social services took his three children from his ex wife, and we took them in. My house was too small, so he got put in a flat until they got him a house.

'After one year of being married we live three miles apart from each other with no sign of a house together. All of the big council houses are full and under occupied. We both work, but don’t earn enough to buy a five bed house that we need. Our MP has been a help writing letters, and social services are also helping.'

Salima, 49

'I am a single mother, and I live with my two children aged 14 and 18. Both of my children are in full time education. Although I hold a British passport and both my children are born in the UK, we have nobody to rely on and our private rent contract expires in June.'

Alison, 37

'My partner bought a three bedroom house for us, but our relationship broke down three months later. I have a nine month old baby with him, and a 13 year old from a previous relationship. I went to the council but they said I wasn’t in need of a house as I have one and my ex-partner has to provide a house for his daughter and my other daughter as he bought the property as family home.

'I have been trying to get a private let with the home bond as a deposit and then I can get housing benefit, but no one will take the home bond as a deposit - they want one month’s deposit and one month’s rent cash.'

Becky, 16

'I am in my last year at school, and will be starting my exams very soon. I was planning to go to college and have received a place, but I recently fell pregnant and am going to have to wait a year until I start my course. I need to find a place for us to live and it needs to be quick.'

Estera, 28

'I have a 10 month old daughter, and in January I became a single mum. I am renting a flat, and pay £680 rent every month, but my wages are only £206 every week. I have applied for housing benefit, but have to wait another five weeks for a decision. I feel devastated and worry so much about my daughter - how can I give her what she needs?'

Vita, 24

'I have a baby. I’m not working at the moment, but I am waiting for child benefit. We are living in a shared house with four people in one room. This is not good accommodation for a small baby.'

Sarah, 33, Portsmouth

'I live in a two bedroom flat on the eight floor of a tower block with my two children. My son is 10 and my daughter will be seven in May. Both my children have disabilities, and my daughter uses a disabled buggy.

'I applied to move while pregnant with my daughter. I got in touch with my councillor, and a year before my son was 10 I was visited my a member of my council who saw the cramped state I lived in and moved me up to fourth on the list and told me I could only be waiting for up to four months.

'A year later I am still waiting. I'm not down in the higher priority list, which is full, but in the medium priority list. I am still number four, and the person who is top has been their since 2008. Unless you go private and find some where who takes housing benefit you are stuck.'

Laura, 39, London

‘We are a family of five comprising of our two daughters aged six years and six weeks, our four year old son, my husband and myself.

'We live in Stratford, London in a one bedroom flat on the second floor. For the past four years we have been in contact with our housing officers, local MP and even the Mayor for Newham in regards to our overcrowded situation.

‘As you can imagine the situation has become desperate after the birth of our third child six weeks ago.

‘I have exhausted nearly every option to be re-housed, and the situation is getting desperate. Where do we, a young family who want the best start for our family, go when it seems that we get stonewalled at every turn?’

Karen, 25

‘I’m currently living in a rented apartment and pay £495 rent. I work 30 plus hours a week, and have a three year old little boy. Last year I was made redundant from my previous employer due to closure. I was out of work for six months and, although I got some housing benefit, fell behind with payments of rent and other household bills.

Samantha, 28, Solihull

‘I have been on the waiting list since I was pregnant with my son. I am married and my husband works, and we get no benefits for paying our rent or council tax. Our son is turning five in September, we all share a bedroom, and what with bedroom furniture and our double bed there is no room for our son to play. It is causing no end of problems, as he's at an age where he NEEDS his own space. Every day is a battle and I live in hope that we will be moved sooner rather than later.

‘Most nights my son wakes up in the middle of the night, constantly climbing into our bed and turning the tv on. This is not fair on any of us and if he were in his own bedroom there would not be a television in there in the first place. None of us get much sleep or a decent nights sleep because of this.

'My council told me to put his bed in our living room and let him have the living room as his bedroom - have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? It wont be long before we have to give up our bedroom for him and us sleep in the living room.

‘I don’t know what else to do. We cannot afford to privately rent - if we could we would have moved a long time ago. We have applied to part rent/part buy, but got refused because my husband’s wage wasn’t enough. We have tried mutual exchange but haven’t found anyone who is willing to swap - even elderly wanting to downsize prefer two bedrooms for grandchildren staying etc. We are stuck in a situation we cannot get ourselves out of.'

‘Although I’m working as much as I can I’m not getting out of debt. The property I live in is too expensive, but I cannot move as I doubt I would pass a credit check. I have been on the council waiting list for three years and housing association also.

'I try my best for my son and some weeks, because of the amount I pay in rent, can’t pay electric or buy food and go without. I don’t understand the bidding system and my rights.

'All I know is that I may lose the apartment and end up homeless and lose my job as a result. All I want is a decent affordable place for my son and to carry on working and build a better future. My debts mean that I can’t get a mortgage even though this would be a cheaper option than renting.’

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