Sunday, 28 May 2023

Pregnant mother-of-seven suffering ‘panic attacks’ in cramped emergency housing

A pregnant mother has revealed the horrifying living conditions her family have been forced to get used to after their landlord evicted them from their rental home. Natasha Williams spoke of having “panic attacks” in the cramped Holiday Inn hotel room, which regularly stinks of cannabis and suffers from a “leaky ceiling”, in Tongwynlais, south Wales. The Williams family is just one of more than 50 groups occupying the hotel, which is now effectively in the hands of the local authority and is closed to the public.

It comes as Cardiff council reportedly said the city was facing a “severe” housing shortage with more than 1,600 homeless households living in temporary accommodation in the city, many of them families.

The Williams family from Llanishen, south Wales, lost their home of nearly seven years after they were evicted on March 20 by their landlord, having failed to make their monthly payments.

They ended up in the Holiday Inn at Tongwynlais, where they are sharing four beds, reports WalesOnline.

They are sharing four double beds across two rooms at the hotel, with only two shower rooms. One of their children is currently doing her GCSEs while putting up with living conditions at the hotel, which the family describes as “horrendous”.

“I had a panic attack when I walked in and saw the state of the place,” Natasha said. She added that since they arrived at the hotel the stench of cannabis in the corridors hasn’t stopped.

“People are smoking cannabis in there and nothing has been done about it,” she said. “Where are the priorities?

“There’s a big difference between me trying to wash and dry my kids’ clothes and someone bringing drugs onto the premises and smoking.”

Husband Greg added: “Water is leaking from the ceiling, the shower is falling apart and is leaking everywhere, which has caused the floorboards to go through.

“You can see how if you put your foot down it’d probably go through the floor. Even the toilet seat isn’t on the toilet.

“We’ve raised all these things and nothing has been done. The air conditioning is also leaking. They’ve said it’s condensation but I’ve worked on them in the past and I know it isn’t. It’s a real problem because you can get legionnaires’ disease from that.”

The couple say they have suffered mentally as a result of being in the hotel. Natasha said: “I didn’t suffer from a mental health condition before coming here but I’ve had to seek help since.”

She added: “There are supposed to be 24/7 support workers here but they don’t seem to have a clue what is going on or how long we’re going to be in the hotel for.”

Before the family’s eviction Greg was working as a team leader for the Co-op but he decided he had to leave his job to drive his children to and from schools between the hotel and Llanishen.

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He said he now has to spend most of his day in the car and working on top of that wouldn’t have been possible.

During a Cardiff council cabinet meeting for housing and communities this week, Cllr Norma Mackie, who is a member in the adult social services department, said there were “significant issues with both demand for services and the complexity of need remaining high”.

Cllr Lynda Thorne added: “The pressure in some areas, such as homelessness as you know, remains unprecedented.”

Natasha and Greg are in the council’s emergency housing need bracket, but Natasha says she has been told it could be up to two years until they can get a house because of the size of the family and the desperate nature of the shortages.

Source: Read Full Article

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