A mum and her four children are forced to share one tiny room because there's no council houses in her area.

Twenty-four-year-old Toni Bell, who is mum to a three-year-old girl and baby triplets, has been left with no alternative than to fit her entire family into her mum's cramped spare room while she is on the council's waiting list for a suitable home.

WATCH TONI'S STORY OF CRAMPED LIVING CONDITIONS


Credit: SWNS

Toni, from Edinburgh, said: "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 mum 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."

Toni also suffers from a bone condition called LEri-Weill dyschondrosteosis, which means she has shortened leg bones and is pain with limited wrist movement.

She was previously living in temporary accommodation, but the house she was living in was sold by the landlord and she had to move back to her mum's house, which Toni says has also put massive strain her relationship with her mum.

Councillor Gavin Barrier has admitted that Edinburgh struggles to meet demands for council houses. Credit: PA

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 mum 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, local authorities spent an estimated £27million ($35m) a year putting people in temporary accommodation in bed and breakfasts rather than 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.

Credit: SWNS

"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, said the city was struggling to meet 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."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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