A mother with a six-week-old baby is suffering from “anger, stress and anxiety” after being told to leave her temporary accommodation.
Stacey Davies, 36, may be at risk of eviction from her council-provided home after turning down another property she said was in “disgusting” condition and unsuitable for a young family.
The single mum, who suffers from mobility and mental health issues, is struggling to get her sons’ double stroller up and down the three flights of stairs at her current home in Birmingham.
Her youngest son was born by Caesarean section at Birmingham City Hospital on April 4, after which she became critically ill and suffered a blood clot in the lung.
Ms Davies had received an email from Birmingham City Council a week before the birth giving her 35 days to vacate the two-bedroom flat, in what was intended as a tide-over while she found a permanent place.
James Whitehouse of substance abuse service Change, Grow, Live has asked the council to restore their priority residential status and reverse the eviction, which is the first phase of the eviction process.
He said: “Stacey has been in temporary accommodation for 16 months, living outside of boxes and having no stability.”
“She was in the city center before she was moved to where she is now.” She was offered a one-bedroom apartment but turned it down, saying it was too small, dirty, and had no carpets or floors.
“She was returned to where she was before, but because she turned down that offer, the council says she no longer has urgent or priority housing needs.” I am appealing that decision and the notice of termination.
“The property she is on now is not fit for purpose, she is having trouble getting the stroller up and down the stairs and there have been problems with the heating. She also lives under the threat of eviction.”
Ms Davies, who is registered as disabled and is taking medication for her mental health problems, has been living in the housing association flat in Edgbaston since December last year.
She had asked city officials for alternative accommodation as she has difficulty climbing the stairs with her 17-month-old child’s stroller and suffers from deep vein thrombosis which is causing her legs to swell. Ms Davies also says there was a boiler fault over the winter which took three months to fix and resulted in her and her elder son being hospitalized and ill.
She was offered another property four miles away at Weoley Castle which was outside of her support network and had only one bedroom, no carpet and only a bunk bed to sleep on.
Ms Davies subsequently received a termination notice from Birmingham City Council, which said the local authority had “done its duty” to provide accommodation under the Homeless Act 1996.
Mr Whitehouse sent an appeal letter to the Council on her behalf three weeks ago and Mrs Davies received the reply by email yesterday.
“Stacey has mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, and the situation has left her upset, stressed and fearful of what the future may hold,” he said. “She has to be given credit for doing everything she could to get better and holding together really well in difficult circumstances.”
“I have great respect for the journey Stacey has made in life and she deserves a break.” Stable housing will allow her to move on with her life. She desperately craves some security, not only for herself but for her two children as well.”
Ms Davies said her residential status had been revoked, meaning she could not bid on newly vacant properties.
“I’m faced with being homeless, having a newborn son and having nowhere to go,” she said. “I don’t know what the future holds for us and that worries me a lot.”
“The worst thing is feeling like I can’t take care of my kids. If I can’t find a safe place to live, we end up on the streets.”
More than 4,000 families were living in makeshift shelters across the city as of January this year, according to a report by BirminghamLive.
In reply to Ms Davies, the council rejected the appeal, explaining that the offer was for a ground floor apartment with a triple bunk bed and a living room with a sofa bed that folds out into a double bed.
The homeless center team leader wrote: “The issues you raised, which in turn made you feel the property was unsuitable, have now been addressed.”
Mr Whitehouse now plans to appeal the decision again.
A spokesman for the council said: “We are sorry to hear about this family’s situation.” Unfortunately, due to the national housing crisis, there is a long waiting list for housing in the city and severe restrictions on choice. We can confirm that the tenant’s case was thoroughly reviewed by his housing officer after the apartment was offered.
“This includes issues raised by their support representative and a response has been provided.” “We will be discussing options for the future with family and other authorities.”
MORE: Pregnant mum fears being abandoned in the street with toddler after being told to leave home