Sometimes life challenges young parents, but we all hope for the best. Such is the story of Toni Bell, a 24-year-old single mother from Edinburgh, who states that she is forced to live in her mom’s cramped spare room with her four children. Toni’s older daughter is sharing the bed with her, while her triplet babies are sleeping in baskets on the floor next to the radiator. The young mother is on the waiting list for council housing. She was offered an all-expenses-paid place at a bed and breakfast but said she turned it down because she needs cooking facilities to be able to prepare bottles for her babies. So now, she is waiting for an appropriate housing for her and her four children.
Watch Toni’s story of cramped living conditions
Source: News Today CNT
The young single mother, explained “I feel sick about the whole situation. There’s no room and it’s not the environment you want to be bringing your children up in. A three-year-old shouldn’t be sharing a bed with her mom and five people shouldn’t be staying in one room. My triplets are sleeping in Moses baskets on the floor and are quickly outgrowing them. There’s no room for a cot – you can’t even see the floor in the room.”
“It’s getting to the time when they all will need the bed and I’ll be on the floor. I hate being on benefits, but I have had no choice. Some days are good, others are bad. We live in a third floor flat and I have to climb six flights of stairs to get there with four children. I have to take the buggy to the bottom of the stairs and then bring the children down one by one. Sometimes with my disorder I struggle even to lift them.”
To make things more difficult the former hairdresser suffers from Léri-Weill dyschondrosteosis which is a disorder of bone growth. As a result, she has shortened leg bones and is in pain with limited wrist movement. Toni used to live in temporary accommodation, but the landlord sold the house forcing her to move back with her mother. And it hasn’t been easy. Tony says that the whole situations affected her relationship with her mom.
The young mother feels the council needs to act fast so she can properly provide for her children.
She said: “I need a three-bedroom house I can share with my children. I need to give them the home and stability they deserve. Before I moved in, my relationship with my mom was really good. Now it is really strained. I feel like I am letting myself and my triplets down on babyhood. I feel like they haven’t had the same as my toddler did when she was a baby.We have no highchair, bouncy chair or cots for them because I simply don’t have the room. ”
According to Audit Scotland, it’s easier for local authorities to spend an estimated £27million ($35m) a year putting people in temporary accommodation in bed and breakfasts that to find them a permanent home.
Toni said: “I have been told I can go into a B&B and I would be in there for weeks up to months before moving to temporary accommodation when I could be told to leave at any point. She adds:”I don’t want my children in a B&B. I need cooking facilities and to be able to make bottles for my babies. I’m not letting my kids go without. The father of my children is brilliant and he comes around to see them three or four times a week. However, he lives in a one-bedroom flat so he doesn’t have the accommodation either. I need permanent accommodation so I have some stability for my children. They deserve so much better.”
Councillor Gavin Barrier, convener of Edinburgh’s council housing and economy committee admitted that the city had problems meeting the demands for council houses. He said: “We have a range of housing advice services to help people who are looking for a home or are looking to move. However, three-bedroom properties are much sought after and become available less frequently. The challenge of securing affordable homes in Scotland is particularly acute in the capital. Almost 170 households bid for every council and housing association home available to let in Edinburgh.
With the city’s population forecast to grow by almost 30 per cent over the next 20 years, keeping up with demand will become increasingly difficult. To address these concerns, the council is working with our partners and already delivering on what is one of the most ambitious housing plans in the UK. Following the capital coalition’s pledge to build 20,000 homes in the next 10 years. Work is under way to achieve these ambitious commitments, with over 2,000 affordable homes under construction on 33 sites in the city.”