Sunday, 4 December 2011

There is so much milling about in my head.
I'm pretty upset.
I'd been bidding on a house (Council waiting list) and I hadn't realised how sure i was that we would get it, i mean it was perfect for us - 4 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, plus a downstairs wc (privacy for me and no more horrid commode) plus a separate dining room that i could have used as a temporary bedroom. I Google mapped the street, it was one street over from a good primary school, a distance i would have been able to manage in the wheelchair, meaning i could have taken the children to school myself. It was an older property so it would have reasonable room sizes, we wouldn't feel all cramped up together as we do now. It was in a nice road too, wide grass verges, trees, nice.

We didn't get it and i was pretty crushed.
I mean, proper tears, feeling hopeless and helpless and destined-to-be-stuck-here-forever, crushed. I mean, i had three social workers, a health visitor and my disability advocate contact the council to weigh in in our favour. If that isn't enough, what is?
I looked around myself at the current situation we are in. We are overcrowded, there are 6 of us in a 3bed house. I can't get up the stairs to bed so i have to sleep on the sofa (which is causing problems in itself), there is no space for a bed down here, unless i get rid of the sofa and buy a bed for down here but a) buy a bed with what? Pixie dust? and b) where would we all sit? 
 Not being able to master the stairs means i have to wash in the kitchen. Great for privacy, that. It also means i have to use the commode. You cannot possibly comprehend how much i detest that thing, nor how i hate having to use it. No privacy. No dignity. Nobody to empty it on any regular basis. Not nice.
What else? Oh yes, the damp. Our little house is the middle of three, a small terrace. In our front garden is the only downpipe on any of the three properties. Guess what? There is no drain and no soak-away under it, so when it rains our front garden just fills with water. This has lead to damp. I have lived here for almost 8 years and i have lost count of the number of times i have called out the council repairs team. They usually turn up, take a look and tell me i need a soak-away, then they leave never to be heard from again.
 The last time i complained and they sent out environmental health who initially tried to blame us for the damp, saying we didn't open the windows often enough (how he thought he could know that confounds me). By the way, i open the windows every day - i hate that stuffy feeing of old air you get when the windows haven't been opened. Eventually they said we just needed better ventilation, so the council installed an extractor fan in the kitchen and some weird air-circulating thing in the landing/loft.
 So far neither of these have produced a soak-away nor a drain.

March 2011 Front wall, left corner

Because of the damp we have black mould. It started under the lounge window, where the wall is cold and damp. Despite bleaching the wall, using every mould resistant product i could find, it came back again and again and each time it spread a little further along the walls. At the last count the mould appears on every upstairs window sill (where i cannot get to clean it off), there is a patch on the ceiling in the main bedroom and it is on the front wall, all along the side wall of the lounge/diner and now patches are showing on the back wall as well, even though it is south-facing, even though the extractor is on continuously, even though the window vents are open 24/7 and the i air the downstairs every day. 

March 2011 Front wall

All of that mould means so much extra work, pulling out furniture, bleaching walls (the scrubbing removes the paint and eventually the plaster). It would be hard enough on somebody able bodied, but i can barely stand when i am supported by two crutches. How the holy hell am i meant to clean all that up now? My children and i are breathing mould spores every day and the council don't care.

March 2011 Main bedroom (back of house) ceiling

What does this have to do with me not getting the 4bed i'd applied for? 

I found out today that part of the reason i missed out was because of the 'decorative condition' of this property. Apart from what feels like clear discrimination against my disability (i'll just hop up and run another coat of paint on the walls shall i?), i feel like it is an absolute sham of an excuse. Want to know why? Because when i moved in here it was MUCH WORSE!

Pic of a pic, sorry

 When i moved in to this property there was no ceiling in the hallway from the front door to close to the stairs. There were floor boards screwed on to brick walls. There was a hole in the floor of the main bedroom (ok, that is still there, that one has stumped me). The walls were pitted and scarred. The back garden was in such a state that a guy from the council came out and declared it unfit for use! That's right, they told me it was too dangerous to let my children play out there, that was the state of it. The kitchen consisted of two double cupboards and one single, and a long surface that wasn't attached to anything (ok, the council replaced the kitchen a year or two ago, but only because they had to by law).

Another pic of a pic, work starting on garden

Want to know the best part? They refused to help with any of it, hiding behind a clause in the contract i had signed in my desperation to get a suitable home.
I have paid, by scrimping saving and (mostly) borrowing, for a ceiling, several walls to be plastered, for a garden that cost me close to £4,000 to get up to a usable state (and even now, it isn't finished). 
 So yes, the plaster work hasn't been painted. Yes, there are screw holes in the wall from where we had a stair gate that broke. Yes, the entire house needs a good lick of paint. In fact the entire upstairs needs carpeting (except the smallest bedroom), the boys don't even have any flooring in their room. But you know what? The money ran out, i became disabled and now I'm screwed. I won't get another place because this one isn't "pristine" (to quote "... homes need to be in pristine condition to keep any costs incurred to a minimum"). I have absolutely no way of making this one any better than it is now.

But hey, i shouldn't moan really. I have no idea how i'd afford the furniture we'd need to use 4 bedrooms anyway.


63 comments:

  1. So sorry to read this - have shared on Twitter and Facebook, hopefully if we can all make a noise about your situation, something will get done.

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  2. Is it worth getting in touch with your MP? Or local paper?

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  3. Really sad and sorry state of affairs for you. I hope things get sorted for you and you have an accessible and suitable home soon. May I ask though - you have 5 children: how do you afford to raise them? I have put off having children until I can afford it and been able to settle with a secure home. I know this has an impact on whether I ever have kids/if am too old but I do think I this is the responsible thing to do in my case. I am not trying to be critical, am genuinely interested in your story which you seem happy to share details of.

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  4. Doesn't surprise me in the slightest- councils in this country will hide behind any excuse they can not to help, they force you into private rents you cannot afford, and then, when these Landlords leave you with no heating or hot water, damp and everything else, they tell you to get the Environmental Health out. Then, when you do that, the Landlord gets peed off, and evicts you, and the council then says you're a bad tenant and intentionally homeless for taking their advice. Its a vicious circle, one I'm in at present myself- my home is making my son ill, but the council doesn't care. Thats the UK in 2011 for you.
    I really hope you can make some noise on this and I'm happy to help you do so- how dare they expect you to keep paying out- can you not go to a Disability charity for help?

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  5. Thanks to Sally to drawing my attention to this - I'll tweet it too and I really hope someone pays attention.

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  6. I'm sure your MP, local councillors and paper would be very interested in this. I am so sorry you missed out on the house, it seems an absolute disgrace to me x

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  7. I followed a link from Twitter and was horrified by your story. I hope something gets sorted soon. Some high profile people have picked up your story so I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

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  8. I am absolutely horrified that a council can treat a woman like this. Sickening. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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  9. We gets lots of damp in the houses here in Spain. They're just not built for the winter. The Spanish spray the mildew with dilute bleach. That kills the spores, which are not good for the kids health. Then, dry one area out at a time and paint with glue, once that's dry, paint... that should disguise the area for a while

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  10. I hope some good things come your way soon. Your story highlights all the worst parts of bureaucracy, red-tape and other elected idiocy.

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  11. Do you have a case worker from DSS or otherwise that can help advocate on your behalf?

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  12. Really sorry to read about your situation. I'm a Green Town Councillor in Devon and a mum of two on a very low income. Have you contacted your local councillors, your MP or tried your local children's centre? I know our cc helps families who need support. Having learnt a little about the bidding system lately - it is based upon those in most need so as awful as your situation appears, the house may have been offered to a family who does not actually have a home to live in at all. Also larger homes are virtually impossible to find so anyone with a large family like yours will struggle. I think you have a good case for the council to sort out the damp and decor in your current home though, and sort out your access issues (install a stairlift?) - if you have the right people fighting your corner. Best of luck. Also try contacting the Green Party in your area - see http://www.greenparty.org.uk/

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  13. You and 5 kids....why have so many children when you cannot afford to house them?? If my house gets damp, I have to fix, that's what happens in the real world.....

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  14. This is a disgrace! I don't know who owns the property - Council or Landlord, but it's not environment Health you need it's a county council surveyor. If its a landlord the council instruct work to be done. If its council -stop paying rent till its done & the pay for it.
    I'm guessing eviction would embarrass them and in any case they'd still be forced to sort before anyone else moved in. Speak to the press and your M.P.

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  15. Anonymous at 10:16 - go fuck yourself with a rolled copy of the Daily Mail, how is your comment in any way helpful?!

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  16. life must be hell in that place call home,do the above contact local MP, and your local paper,even if you own your home you can get grants to do up your home, hope it gets sorted soon

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  17. Daily mail, hardly! But well done on trying to categorise me, sympathy is hardly useful,,... Maybe contraception and a job??

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  18. I'm sorry, cos I'd never say this on my own blog, but yes, Anonymous, do fuck off.

    Now then, I too would urge you to contact your MP straight away if you haven't already. They might be a shambles in parliament but very often can get these problems sorted out very quickly.

    Clearly Crisis and Shelter might be able to help too http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice they have loads of really good advice and you can speak to real people.

    Who is your MP? I might be able to help?

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  19. 10:16. She is disabled and has said she finds it hard to stand with a crutch, so I am not sure what job she should "get" in a recession, with childcare costs possibly being more than she earns. She has also said that she has *become* disabled recently. What exactly do you suggest she does, sell a child or two? I sincerely hope that you never are in a situation like this.

    Broken single mum, I have nothing further to add to the advice above except my sympathy and sincere hope that something can be worked out for you and your family.

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  20. 10.16. She has 5 CHILDREN you idiot! Not unfertilised eggs. What does she do now? Give them away? You don't know her previous circumstances. You can not possibly judge. I am presuming you are very young and unaware of the sort of things that happen to people in the real world

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  21. I think starting a petition with all the facts on it would be a good thing to do. I am sure we would all sign it, share it on facebook etc, to get you really highlighted! You need a stairlift at the very least...and that hole filled in for the safety of the children! Crazy. .....and people wonder why I moved abroad!

    Try sites like
    http://www.gopetition.com
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/
    http://www.petitiononline.co.uk/
    http://www.petitions24.com/start-petition

    Good luck!

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  22. Call shelter or CAB...or other local housing advice and see about environmental protection act etc use shelfer advice directory on their website to find agencies in your area.
    Good luck.

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  23. I cannot believe that your council are behaving in such an appalling manner. I too will share on facebook/twitter/stumble upon etc. Lets hope it goes viral and a newspaper pick up your story and shame the council into action.

    No-one should have to live in such hideous conditions.

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  24. I have also shared this on twitter,to those who are being negative, read her blog it is quite clear that she became disabled due to complication with last pregnancy! If we all had a crystal ball life would be so easy!!
    I suggest appealing with social services support and informing local media, two pronged attack which gives the local rag something to shout about whilst social services get to feel all 'good' about themselves!! I work in the sector I 'know' how this will work
    Take care
    x

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  25. have emailed and tweeted Nick Herbert. as ever, i wish there was something more i could do. if you find anything i can do to help, please let me know.
    love you always. xx

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  26. This is a very sad situation and I hope you get help.

    However, I have to agree in part with 10.16. You have 5 children. I work full-time, have no partner and struggle from day-to-day. I can't even own a dog or cat let alone a child because if anything happened to it I couldn't afford to pay. If anything happened in my flat then I have to pay for it myself, I can't rely on the council or charities or even family to help me out.

    Everyone's in the same boat right now. Some are luckier than most. It's a shit situation but at least you have a roof (albeit a damp one) over your head.

    Don't want to sound like a bitch but I will anyway - suck it up and just be thankful for what you have got and not what you haven't.

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  27. Not a Daily Mail reader4 December 2011 11:45

    The council are not evil doers - they are working in very, very tough times and budgets and we all have personal responsibility which should not be ignored even though we have a welfare state. I really hope you get all you need and the vitriolic comments here are not helpful but I think if you are asking for your particular case to be highlighted you will be asked uncomfortable questions including why you had so many kids without having a home/means to support them. Just by asking this, does not mean I don't have sympathy, too! Also, there are waiting lists for a reason. The council simply does not have enough resources for everyone and they have to prioritise. Maybe the family who got 'your' house had, what the council deemed, a greater need.

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  28. Really sorry to hear about your situation - the council are behaving horrendously. I can't add much more than what all (most, actually) the other commenters have said, but I have put it on FB/Twitter and have asked a friend who used to be a social worker if she has any better advice than what I can offer. I really hope things will get better for you soon.

    BTW, just a thought: If you do need furniture, have you tried your local Freecycle group? People give away all sorts of things there including furniture.

    Good luck with everything xo

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  29. This is just awful. Pls rest assured that the majority of people reading this are decent human beings & not narrow-minded, ignorant baffoons (feel free to congratulate me for resisting the strong urge to swear..,) who clearly haven't the faintest idea about your circumstances.

    I'm a nurse & suspect that if you are recently disabled you will be under the care of a consultant or at the very least your GP? Have you alerted them to your situation? Perhaps you could ask them to write to the council or your MP and inform them of the seriousness of your living conditions? It is clearly impacting on your health and the health if your children. Speak to ANYONE who could support what you've already told the council.

    I'm so sorry you're in this mess :-(, it's appalling.

    Ignore anyone who posts an insulting/unhelpful comment. They're not worth your time and attention ;-)

    Wishing you lots of luck!!

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  30. Wait...they looked over you for the 4 bedroom house because your house at the moment isn't pristine?! How the hell does that work?! Surely you're be a priority because you're house is in disrepair?

    Unless, I read wrong but I don't think I have. I'm so sorry you're in this mess. :(

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  31. OK wow, i genuinely wasn't expecting such a response! Thankyou very much to everyone who has shared this post and been so kind and helpful xx

    To anonymous, thankyou for taking the time to comment here so that i might explain my situation a little more.

    I am currently claiming benefits as i believe they are for people who find themselves in exactly my situation. A 'normal' wife and mother who finds her life turned upside down by circumstances beyond her control. My pelvis became unstable during my last pregnancy, eventually becoming so loose it snapped the ligaments supporting it.
    Had this not happened I would have been running my own business from home by now, with my (now separated) husband either looking after the children or working himself (had the company he worked for not gone under). This was our plan.

    Plans do not always work out though, something i hope you never discover to this degree, or anywhere near.

    To those who think i sound ungrateful i would like to say, this is my blog, my place to pour out what is bothering or stressing me. My moan, whine and rant place. This is not a realistic representation of who i am as a person.
    I am not concerned if you think badly of me, you do not know me. I am reassured that my friends and family think i am a good person, and that is what matters to me.
    Thankyou though, for taking the time to read.

    Now i must go and finish putting my children to bed.

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  32. @Not a Daily Mail reader

    I am happy to answer questions and i understand that the council are having a hard time too. But they are also not fulfilling their obligations as my landlord by not addressing the damp problem sufficiently.
    I am also aware that whoever got the property will have had a higher need than i and i am genuinely pleased that they now have a nice home, as i hope people will be for me when i get a more suitable house.
    As i said above (which you may not have read yet) i did have a home and a means to support my children when i had them. Things change though.

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  33. *you'd

    *your

    Sorry about the mistakes. I have brain fog at the moment and can't remember how to spell!

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  34. Good luck with getting things changed. I really hope you can. You and your children deserve a home that is fit for purpose.

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  35. I've had housing issues, similar but not this bad (and it's just me, with a supportive and able bodied husband to be), but with antisocial behaviour problems, including hate crime and assaults as well.

    I got what I needed, in the end (about 2.5 years total) by going all the way through my landlord's complaint procedure twice, and starting it a third time, complete with excessive delays, lying, 'losing' things, the usual. Half way through the second time they changed to a Registered Social Landlord, but before that the flat belonged to the Council and they were an Arm's Length Management Organisation, so the next step was the Local Government Ombudsman.

    It took forever. A lot of the time, especially with the Ombudsman, nothing was happening through the delay because I was being shunted down the queue by education appeals - which they are forced to treat as a priority, regardless of what else is on their case list and its severity. I did also have to stand up for myself a bit - I was being expected to summon up precise dates, times, names, etc from 2 years ago on the spot during a phone call, but the Council were getting requests in writing and taking 2 months or more to reply - did point out this wasn't fair, and they started emailing which gave me time to put it together right.

    Eventually, the council offered to settle - move me to a suitable property, repair and decorate it adequately, do it as soon as possible. This also allowed me to skip the choice-based letting fiasco they run, as it was an Ombudsman settlement. I really don't care how fair that it. Might be horrible, but whatever - so were the people who accepted houses that should've been offered to me while they refused to give me the correct banding/exempt me from age restricitions on accessible properties, then. Fair doesn't really come into it, for me. My priority was me - in your place, it'd be my children.

    I still spent over two months looking at fifteen stupidly, obviously unsuitable properties (flights of stairs and nearest parking ages away were commenest) before being offered something that fulfilled my needs and the settlement agreement. It needs four to six weeks of work because the last tenants trashed it, so I'll be moving in January, which makes it 30 months since I first applied for housing to getting something fit to live in and accessible for me.

    I had pretty good documentation of it all, and I do think it really helped. Phone calls, emails, photos of repairs needed, and botched jobs. Records of people not turning up, putting the phone down, 'losing' the same document five times. Keep the absolute best records you can, including in your case coughs, respiritoy problems and infections, damage to property, and time, effort, supplies used cleaning mould and consequences to you of having to do it. Try to do it all in writing, even email is better than phone. If you have to talk to them face to face, try and have a witness.

    continued..

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  36. I also was persistent (ie, viciously and bloody-mindedly annoying, on purpose). I called every day for four weeks, at the exact same time. Then once a week, for at least eight months. Then it went to the Ombudsman and I emailed about every fortnight. They (landlord) learned to dread me calling and learned I would *not* go away. In the end, I managed to make it easier to do what I wanted than anything else. I've found it an effective tactic for dealing with Councils and similar organisations.

    Places/people that helped:
    CAB - my local one is not good, but just having an organisation's name on the letters helped.
    My community psych nurse - a social worker, district nurse, children's worker should be able to offer similar support.
    My doctors supplied letters and filled in the forms sent by the housing mob.
    My MP got involved at the end because the Jobcentre were being **** and helped - I really wish I'd gone to him earlier.
    Late in the process I found a friend in the housing office, who really seemed to be on my side, and insisted on dealing with her adn only her.
    I was a complete thorn in the side of my housing officer and she wanted nothing more than to get me off her caseload no matter how.
    I was about to contact the local Law Centre when they offered to settle.

    Please remember: equality law defines you as disabled if: you have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

    Long term is usually accepted as having lasted or being likely to last, 12 months.

    You're entitled to reasonable adjustments as a disabled person, which might well mean your landlord should waive/relax the rule about the condition of your house.

    I really hope some of this helps - I did talk to you briefly on Twitter, but 140chars is really limiting!

    Take care. I have my fingers crossed for you.

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  37. So sorry to hear your story, and as someone who grew up in social housing, I totally understand how people end up in it through circumstances beyond their control.

    Anyway on a more practical note (I used to work in housing), that house is contravening The 2010 Decent Homes Standard. From what you said it's an actual council house and not privately rented? Who's your housing association or is it just the council?

    So first off go to your doctor, get a letter stating the problems with your pelvis and their concern about the mould and the stress it's all causing- take photos to show them as evidence.

    Then with the photos and the GP's letter, write to your housing officer, cc' the Director of Housing, the Housing Ombudsman (http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/) and your Local MP - their names should be on the web somewhere. Also put in there about how you've fixed the ceiling too - that shows willing and that you have been a good tenant.

    To be honest they might not re-house you, I doubt they'll class 6 people in a 3 bed house as being over-crowding. But that will get their attention, they really hate it when MP's and housing directors get involved :) So it should get fixed, I know it's not easy but don't give up, it will get fixed.

    Good luck xx

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  38. I am so sorry to hear of this awful situation. Liz's advice (above) seems really good, and is far more use than what I can offer, but I just want to send you all my love. Hope it all works out soon and in the meantime, lots of us are thinking of you. xx

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  39. I can send you an answer as a housing student but am slightly worried about getting shot down in flames......so

    First let me say I think if they are deciding that the decorative condition of your property which has damp is a deciding factor you are being discriminated against. Either directly or more likely indirectly, because as a disabled person you are less able to wash the walls and redecorate as often as they would like you to.

    Secondly, you will be allocated housing as part of a Choice Based Letting system. This isn't really a choice because there aren't enough houses so choice is very limited. Unfortunately your ideal home will have been a hell of a lot of other people's ideal home and as you say one of them may have been a higher priority than you. Although as someone who is disabled, with children, who is occupying an unsanitary house who needs to move on medical grounds I do struggle to see who could be a higher priority. I think you are entitled to 'reasonable preference' under sub-section 167(2) of the 1996 Housing Act - for your insanitary conditions and your medical need, and under s189 of the 1996 Housing Act as a vulnerable person due to physical disability and as someone who has dependant children.

    I would like you to do three things for me;

    1. Try and establish why you have damp. Is it rising because there is no damp proof course (usually a line of rubber 3 bricks up from the ground) or because the walls are thin and there is no cavity. Is it in a particular spot where something - soil, a wall, is bridging the damp proof course.

    2. Write to your MP pointing out the cause of your damp, how you should be a priority and nothing seems to be happening. Can you include a letter from your Dr confirming the effect this is having on yours / your children's health. I would also badger Citizen's Advice with the above, they usually have a housing team who will act on your behalf.

    3. Have a look and see if you can bid for any houses that aren't quite your ideal. The most popular houses always have everyone bidding for them so you might have a better chance if you compromise on one or two elements. Try and spot the gems that others may have overlooked.

    Good luck. I don't like the council's attitude but ultimately half the problem is we don't have enough housing.

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  40. Sounds horrid. But is there a reason you cant get a grant from the council for a stairlift in the immediate future - while still looking for somewhere better?

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  41. What an appalling situation. :( Mould can be deadly; if you can document that it was worse when you moved in, why on earth are they sticking you with it? (Rhetorical question, I'm afraid. Sigh.)

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  42. I just wanted to suggest going to the local govt ombudsman too wwww.lgo.org.uk - they're free & independent & could look into everything for you. Good luck x

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  43. Feeling for you, nobody should have to live like this. I am a health worker and sadly have seen homes like this before. Shocking that it is deemed acceptable by anyone.

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  44. Situations like this are unforgivable.

    What about a lawyer about representation to the council for an appeal. I'm not sure how you go about that or if you get legal aid, but having that on your notes will not help you.

    Welfare Rights??

    Not sure I can offer any help, but just wanted to say I think they are treating you shabbily.

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  45. Oh my word, I am totally horrified! I can't believe you didn't get the house, you so so soooo need it. Ridiculous.

    How can I help?!

    Maggy

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  46. I don't know if you have tried this but you are entitled to have your property inspected under the Housing Act 2004, primarily the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. There is no charge for this and the risks contained within your home will be assessed. Category 1 hazards are the most serious.

    Having this assessment carried out under legislation may either force the local authority to carry out badly needed works on your property or it may assist you in getting moved.

    I understand only too well how circumstances can so easily change and the best-laid plans can be torn apart.

    I wish you luck in dealing with your situation.

    Sharon

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  47. Hi there,

    I saw your blog posted on twitter by someone asking if we could help you. I posted a link to it on Shelter's facebook page to see if they could help and they responded with this:

    We offer advice and support through our helpline (on 0808 800 4444) and our advice pages at http://shltr.org.uk/1nz We also offer an email service and face-to-face services, details are also on our website at http://shltr.org.uk/1nx Please do pass any of the above details on - really hope this helps.

    Don't know if that's of any help, but I wanted to do something. Sorry you're in this situation, and I do hope things get better, quickly.

    Laura

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  48. Oh dear this is dreadful isn't it?
    What a great idea RTB was! (NOT)

    I'm sure that BSM has tried many of the avenues people here have suggested but persevere anyway! We were 16 years in a one-bed flat, my partner, child and me and got a two-bed property last year so it is possible eventually to get what you need.

    And all you arses who suggest that single mum should have a crystal ball to see that she would end up in this situation - remember, it could be you!

    Best of luck. And yes, don't forget Freecycle! And local LETS if you have one.

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  49. I can't offer any advice, but just wanted to say how awful for you to be in this situation. Hope by spreading your blog can spur your Council in doing something constructive for you and your family

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  50. Hi I have a question- do you live near Berkshire? Only I'd be happy to wield a paint brush for you, I'm sure Freecyclers would offer some paint, so feel free to get in touch if that would help x

    If not, girls, come on, lets all see who lives nearest and get those walls spotless- then let that useless council say its not blooming pristine? Help one of our own out I think.

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  51. Oh my...oh my oh my oh my oh my...
    I've tried everything, twice, three times actually but I am lucky, I am not disabled. The disabled mother died after trying everything. I don't want you to die. I don't want to die either.
    What I did to try and help myself and my son is on my blog and I'll be posting again on housing later this week. Sadly, none of it will help you, but I don't know, maybe it will. All letters I wrote are there, all emails.
    Do call shelter. They did reach out to me offering me an opportunity to state my case publicly, but I was too shy, I was too scared. I commend your bravery and wish you the best of luck.
    http://stigmum.blogspot.com

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  52. I'm in North Yorkshire - let me know if you are nearby. I would like to help.

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  53. I do hope that this situation is sorted out, it shouldn't be

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  54. It's really nice to see that a couple of people have offered practical help ... Surely this is the way to go. None of us can re house this family, but there must be a group of people who live within a reasonable distance who could offer a few afternoons manpower, and another group who live too far away to give practical help who could donate towards materials. This would have a twofold benefit, the house would be nice to live in while they havebto stay there, and it would be in better condition next time a suitable swap comes up. Come on people, put your money, and brush power, where your mouths are and let's stop relying on 'Big Brother' to sort things out and do it ourselves ...

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  55. Support offered too, you know how to contact me xx Su

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  56. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-great-british-property-scandal/articles/home/ try this site love xxx

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  57. 22YearOldSingleMum6 December 2011 16:01

    I hope u get everythin sorted soon. i've had a lot of people say to me y dont u go to the council but to b fair they dont care and get u in even more debt/trouble than what u were in the first place. i even applied for a budgetin loan recently and got rejected because apparently "to pay off any debts in my currant household and pay for moving expenses to a better place for myself and my daughter" is not a good enough reason for the help i requested.

    Keep ur chin up hunni, dont take no for an answer, keep protesting, send them letters, phone them do whatever it takes to become such a pain in their a**es they have to listen!!! xx

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  58. is your children's father providing any support at all? Financial or otherwise? Surely he should be the one wielding the paintbrush to keep his children healthy. It is terrible that he isn't helping when internet strangers are :(

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  59. Can you ring your council and ask them who is in charge of their Aids and Adaptations budget and what the criteria is? I work in housing and our local council give us a grant of about £50k a year for Aids and Adaptations. Whilst this wouldn't solve a lot of your problems, at least the council could look at adapting your property to meet your needs (we installed a lift in a small 3 bed property a few years ago). If a surveyor is out looking at your adaptation needs I can't imagine them leaving you with a damp problem.

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  60. I followed a facebook link to your story and am truly saddened and appalled!

    We also live in a council property and it has taken years for us to do it up, it was literally a shell when we moved in.

    I hope that you gain the support that you need. I have shared your story on facebook and twitter :)
    I wish you lots of luck in finding the right property, one that will fully meet your families needs.

    ...in reply to the comment left by "a reader"... Do you think that only certain people within a certain socio-economic bracket should be allowed the privilege of procreation?
    A vast proportion of people living in today's world probably wouldn't meet your particular criteria. Do you think they shouldn't be allowed to have children?

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