A couple is reaching its ‘breaking point’ as they have to sleep on the sofa along with two of their children.
Catherine Celiesius and Shane Turner from Birmingham, live in a one-bedroom flat along with their three kids, Freddie, Cody and Lola.
Seven-year-old Freddie has ADHD and needs a separate space to sleep in, meaning he sleeps alone in the flat’s only bedroom, while the parents along with Cody and Lola share the sofa, BirminghamLive reports.
They are on Birmingham City Council's housing register but say there are always around 100 people in the queue ahead of them, despite being placed into priority band 2 (deemed for people who 'need to move') almost a year ago.
“It’s a nightmare, really hard on everyone,” said Catherine, who is trying to get her qualifications to become a mobile nail technician.
“We don’t get much sleep. I try to have a routine, but we haven’t got any separate space. I can’t put the lights on or do anything to make any noise. If I go into the kitchen, it disturbs the children even more as it's so nearby.
"It means we can’t get any jobs done, put the TV on or do the washing up, I have to do it in the morning. We just spend the evenings trying to settle the children. It’s stressful.”
Freddie's condition means he has meltdowns and can become aggressive.
"I’ve tried to put Cody in a bunk-bed in with Freddie but Freddie ends up trashing his bedroom and throwing things around," she said.
"We are reaching breaking point," added Catherine, whose partner Shane has autism, ADHD and dyspraxia and was training to be a HGV driver before the pandemic struck.
"I try to avoid parents at the school because I feel embarrassed about how we’re living. I have to hang the washing around the flat because there's no outside space to dry it.”
There is no room for storage in the tiny flat so the family can only keep a minimal number of items in their three wardrobes with boxes piled on top.
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She said: "Even silly things like washing my hair, I have to make time to do things like that during the day because I can’t dry my hair at night in the same room when we’re trying to get the children to sleep, which makes it harder for me to keep on top of housework and adds to my stress.”
They have been trying to move house via various housing associations and even other councils since.
She added: "We’re on the transfer list but there aren’t any three-bedroom properties and the council is saying we’re not likely to get one.
"We have tried so many options and are running out of hope. We have written to our local MP and have applied to several housing associations. We are bidding every week on Birmingham Choice, but we are still 100+ in the queue, despite our circumstances and my son’s needs.
"We truly feel like every day we are just surviving rather than living our lives."
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “Birmingham City Council would always encourage people in housing need to talk to their current landlord to see if they are able to assist.
“Properties that become available to the City Council are advertised through our choice-based lettings scheme, and those on the register need to bid for suitable properties, these are then allocated to the household that bids with the greatest housing need."
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