Shipping container flat is like a prison for me and my four kids
Lulu Abubakar and her four children are one of dozens of families living stacked on top of one another in a cluster of shipping containers in Ealing, West London.
More than 210,000 kids are estimated to be without a permanent home and the charity Shelter warns they are being “robbed” of a decent childhood.
Ms Abubakar says it feels they are being treated “worse than animals” – especially as her 12-year-old son is autistic and needs special adaptations to his living environment.
The council insists the accommodation provides a stable environment and is necessary because housing demand is so high.
Ms Abubakar tells Sky News about her struggle living in the container – their sixth move in recent years
Every time they find another property it’s not suitable for my son, so we end up staying here.
After two or three years the landlord will evict us again – because of my son, his behaviour. So we go back to the council and they do the same thing again – put us in a worse place than we were before.
It’s a prison having children here, they have a playground – kids can go – but my special needs child, he’s locked in here.
For over eight years now we’ve been moving from one property to another – coming here is just a mental torture.
Seriously, it is really horrible. It’s sad to see my son struggling, it’s not fair for him.
The accommodation is only meant to be temporary, but families are often unsure when they might get somewhere permanent.
In prison they know how long the are going to stay there, but we don’t know nothing.
We’re staying here day and night thinking who’s going to drop us a letter, who’s going to say something, who’s going to move us out from here?
Nobody – they just come around, ‘oh, everybody’s fine’. No, everybody’s not fine, everybody who lives here has a problem.
They’re all scared maybe to speak, but they all have their own problems – worse than me. And I’m the only family with a lot of kids.
It was 36C last week, the floor was boiling, it was hot, flies were all coming to our home, windows we couldn’t open because of my special needs child – they put locks on it.
How are we going to breathe? How can we sleep or relax? Three kids are sleeping in one tiny room.
This is not the right place for people, they just want to save money.
I can’t go anywhere else because wherever I go they won’t let me stay there because I need adaptations.
I’ve been here for 20 years and I worked for Ealing. I’ve been in this borough for 20 years, don’t you think I deserve better than that?
This is a cargo container, this is not a house, not a BnB, this is a container.
It’s where people keep their storage. We are not animals, we are not storage or furniture. We are human. This is just ridiculous.
This is not ideal for anyone who lives here – go to speak to everybody and no one person will tell you they’re happy – because no one’s happy.
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