A mum-of-four whose cramped home has been plagued by rodents, damp and mould has pleaded for help to give her children a ‘healthy and happy’ house to grow up in.
Kellie Sullivan says her two-bedroom house, in Bute Avenue, Oldham, has been littered with issues.
On top of the cramped conditions, which means she struggles to even find enough space for everyone to sleep, she has also been battling a huge mould problem after several leaks caused chronic damp.
First Choice Homes, who manage the property, have apologised for the ongoing issues and have pledged to resolve them – alongside assisting her in getting a new home as soon as they can.
But Kellie, whose fifth child is due in just a few weeks, says she has reached her wit’s end.
She said: “I’m just at the end of my tether now.
“It’s so overcrowded, we’ve only got one storage space so I’ve got nowhere to put anything, we’ve been living out of bags for four years.
“I can’t find the clothes I’m looking for, it’s chaos 24/7.
“I clean this house constantly because the smell of damp just gets to me otherwise.
“I’m 34 weeks pregnant and they want to induce me in a few weeks which is going to make our living situation even harder.
“I don’t know what else to do – nothing I can do will make it any better.”
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Kellie has had to throw out countless pieces of furniture, clothes, and even carpets that have been ruined by the damp in the house.
Some items have to be moved into the garden to stop them causing more problems before they can be disposed of properly.
With rubbish in the area, Kellie also has to deal with rats in her garden and mice inside her home.
Her mum used to help her clear the area but after her sudden death last year, Kellie has to take on the burden alone.
Kellie says she worries most about how the problems are impacting her children – especially her eldest son Carter, five, who is autistic.
She added: “I can’t do anything for my kids – it’s about what they need and at the moment none of them are getting what they need.
“I have sensory equipment for Carter but I can’t set it up because there’s no room, he has to share a room with his two brothers so he doesn’t get his own space which makes things really difficult.
“I slept on the kitchen floor when my daughter was born, because there wasn’t any room in our bedroom for her cot.
“No one’s sleeping properly because if one wakes up everyone’s up, and the kids are all following my son’s behaviour which is another problem.
“My daughter’s been sick after everything she eats lately, she’s having to have blood tests and she’s got acid medication but it’s still happening – I just have to hope it’s not connected to the mice.
“We can’t do anything to make it a safer environment for them, I’m spending £60 a month on cleaning products but it’s just disgusting – no matter how much I clean it just doesn’t help, it’s diabolical.”
Kellie has now bid on more than 30 nearby houses but has been turned down for all of them.
She doesn’t want to move too far away so she can keep Carter in the same school, as moving to a new home and a new school could be overwhelming for him.
Emma Davison, executive director for customer first at First Choice Homes Oldham, said they were working hard to provide a suitable home for the family.
“I really feel for Mrs Sullivan in what must be a difficult situation for her family living in a small home,” she said.
“She is in the top priority band on our and Oldham Councils housing list for a 4-bedroom home. Unfortunately we have a limited number of homes of this size available at the moment and sadly Mrs Sullivan was unsuccessful in the bids she has made.
“We try hard to provide people on the waiting list with a suitable sized home as soon as we can, due to volume of people in Oldham waiting for a home and the Covid-19 pandemic, which means people are not moving as often, this sometime may take longer than we would like.
“We were made aware of the damp and leak issue on 21 February and have an inspector visiting the property on 8 March. We’ve also instructed Oldham Council Pest Control to visit the property. They will be visiting on 9 March.
“We can only apologise to Mrs Sullivan and her family.
“We have spoken to her about her situation and our plans to resolve the issues at her current home, and advised her to continue to bid on 4 –bedroomed homes when they become available.”