Mum and young children stuck indoors for months due to unsuitable council housing

A Penarth mum claims she and her young children have been left stuck indoors for months due to unsuitable council housing.

Caomhie Wingren says she can’t leave her first floor maisonette with her children and a pushchair by herself while her husband is out at work.

The concrete staircase to their home is exposed to the weather so whenever it rains, the steps become slippery and wet, she says.

After her GP told her she should not leave any of her children upstairs while she takes the others downstairs, the mum-of-four says her family have become “prisoners in our own home”, with no friends or family nearby who can help out during the day.

She is now calling on Vale of Glamorgan council to relocate her to ground-floor accommodation, so she can safely leave her home during the day, and take her children to school and nursery.

The council said it is reviewing her case, but there could be a long wait.

Ms Wingren said: “My children haven’t been to school for four months now. I physically can’t get up and down the stairs without help.

“My partner works five days a week, so I have no help throughout the week getting up and down the stairs.

“I’m expected to carry my toddler and newborn down the stairs, while taking a double pram down too.”

She said her request to change her family’s housing banding has been supported by an occupational therapist, a GP, health visitor, headteacher, and support workers.

But so far, the council’s housing department has been difficult to engage with, she claims.

“We have opted numerous times for a meeting with the manager but we get ignored,” she said.

“When it rains, the stairs get absolutely drenched. We are prisoners in our own home Monday to Friday when my partner is working.

“I just need a ground floor, that’s all. I need to be able to leave my house during the day with my kids safely.”

The council said it was reviewing her situation and re-assessing her needs, although there could be a long wait to get alternative accommodation, as hundreds of other families with children are also waiting for three-bed homes in the Vale of Glamorgan.

A council spokesperson said: “Ms Wingren is currently living in a first-floor property managed by Wales and West Housing Association, having transferred there from a previous council home.

“Her application for a new property has been updated following the birth of her youngest child and a recent assessment of her medical needs has been undertaken.

“We have recently received additional supporting information which is being reviewed and assessed to establish whether Ms Wingren’s current banding is correct.

“Ms Wingren is registered with the council’s Homes4u scheme so is able to bid for properties, but the number of other families with disabilities, including people with very acute medical needs, means that there could be a significant wait for accommodation.

“There are currently over 800 families with dependent children waiting for three-bedroom accommodation in the Vale of Glamorgan.

“The council, together with its registered social landlord partners, is looking to speed up the delivery of new housing over the next few years when suitable sites become available.”

Ms Wingren disputes that her case was still under review, and says she has been told her housing banding will stay the same, meaning her family gets less priority for a new home.

She said: “They have told me numerous times that even with the additional supported information that they have reviewed and assessed my banding, and as it stands it’s deemed to be the right banding.

“My children’s safety and wellbeing is at risk which is my main concern and which is not being taken seriously.”

Alex Seabrook Local Democracy Reporter

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