Family-of-5 living in overcrowded one-bed council flat with ‘holes in ceiling’

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A family-of-five are living in an ‘overcrowded’ one bedroomed council flat with ‘holes in the ceiling and walls’.

Mum-of-three Courtney Coffman, 20, and her 22-year-old boyfriend have desperately tried to move their family out of their cramped maisonette in Frankley, Worcestershire, over the last two years.

A flood caused holes in ceilings and walls in their hallway and another leak involving “brown toilet water” in the family bathroom.

But Birmingham City Council said that due to the length of the housing list it could be “some time” before the family is rehoused.

The mum, who has an eight-month-old baby girl, another girl who is two next month, and a boy, aged three, said her move pleas with the council had fallen on deaf ears over the last two-years.

Speaking to BirminghamLive, Miss Coffman said: “We’ve been living in one room and we’ve just had to get on with it. But it’s becoming a nightmare.

“My support worker actually said we are classed as ‘homeless’ because of the severe overcrowding and the state of the home as it’s beyond repair.

“In January 2019 I started having a leak in the hallway I thought it would be sorted.

“We have been mopping up the leak in the hallway – but it’s got to a point where my ceiling has started to fall down and I can’t cope.”

Miss Coffman said the “whole home was drenched” and her bathroom was “falling apart” after staying at her disabled mother-in-law’s home overnight in November last year.

“We came home and the bathroom was falling apart. We didn’t leave it like that,” she said.

“The whole home was drenched from the hallway, to the front door, to the kitchen, to the bathroom. It was drenched.”

She added: “There’s water in the light, black mould and the wallpaper and the plaster is coming off.”

Miss Coffman, who moved into the property in January 2018, tried to bid on two and three-bedroomed properties while the leaks have reportedly been getting worse. But she has so far been unsuccessful with her application.

She said the council would put her in temporary accommodation.

However, she said she is still waiting for a housing officer to come back to her since Christmas.

In a letter to support the family’s housing application, a family doctor, wrote: “There are five people at present living in this address, with only one bedroom, as you can imagine it is somewhat overcrowded.”

She confirmed that the housing situation was especially “adversely affecting the mental health” of Miss Coffman’s partner.

In another letter, Miss Coffman’s health visitor, who works for Birmingham Community Healthcare, wrote: “This family are living in a very overcrowded accommodation with their three children in a one bedroomed property.

“There just isn’t enough space for two adults and three children to live in an acceptable way.

“It is severely affecting the mental health of the parents and the emotional well-being of the children.

“In addition the property is in an unacceptable state of condition. There are holes in the ceiling which caused a flood meaning the family had to temporarily move in with in-laws.

“I believe this has been assessed but still not mended. Unfortunately the family had to move back but it is not safe for the children as they are constantly slipping on the wet floors.

“Please consider this family for an urgent house move before there is an accident, the well-being of this family is being severely compromised.”

The council said there are now more than 17,000 applicants on the housing register in Birmingham, which includes over 4,000 council tenants requiring alternative accommodation and 3,500 homeless households in temporary accommodation.

“There is a lengthy waiting list for properties at present,” a city council spokesman told BirminghamLive.

“We are aware Ms Coffman is in a one-bedroom flat and since moving in her family has increased to three.

“She has a band two award in recognition for her overcrowding situation and is eligible to bid for three-bedroomed properties.

“We are also aware that there has been a leak from a neighbour’s property which has affected her flat.

“However, as you will appreciate from the length of the housing list it could be some time before she is rehoused.”