A single mum says she has been forced to live in a freezing, mould-ridden home with her 10 children after her local council told her she could not be re-housed.
Lisa Clarke, from Blackpool, cannot move out of the property because the local authority says it has a shortage of large council houses.
The furious mother says the six-bedroom is too small, has a broken boiler and suffers from several leaks, LancsLive reports.
However, her local Tory MP Scott Benton claimed Ms Clarke refused to accept council help over the leak and was ‘unwilling to engage’ with the authority.
Ms Clarke is a mum-of-12, who lives at home with 10 of her children, some of who have special and complex needs.
Catrionia is currently the oldest at age 18 followed by Mackenzie 16, Kiania 14, Lucius age 12, Jaidan 10, Princess age 7, Lachlan 5, Riley and Corey twins 4 and Malaki 15 months.
Lisa also has two grown up children who live away from home who come and help out their younger siblings.
Youngest Malaki has started having seizures and recently had an 18 minute episode where he had to be hospitalised.
The twins have been diagnosed with autism and have complex needs as well as Lachlan and Jaden who have learning difficulties.
Princess is partially sighted and is also incontinent and Lucius is autistic and has severe ADD.
Kiania is autistic and Mackenzie has emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Catrionia has anxiety and is currently unable to work due to childcare commitments.
Lisa said she is struggling to cope and has also been diagnosed with autism and has severe asthma.
She said the six bedroom house they live on Bairstow Street has become unbearable and has several leaks in the top and middle floor which have not been fixed.
The mum also claims there are problems with the boiler meaning that the house is cold a lot of the time.
According to Lisa, the sharing of rooms and the use of bunk beds has also become unhealthy and so many children in one room can mean something such as an open window can become quickly dangerous.
The property they have lived in since 2018, owned by My Blackpool Home, has no outdoor area meaning there is no respite for Lisa and her children.
She tries to take them to the park when she can, however she does not often get the chance.
She claims she has asked the council to be re-housed but was told that there aren’t enough homes large enough for families of this size.
Lisa said: “I was told there is a shortage of large affordable houses however I have tried to search privately too and there aren’t any.
“It makes me really angry that so many large buildings become available and immediately get turned into flats.
“I have known families who because they have eight or less members have been re-housed in weeks if they have an issue.
“I would have to wait years before a few of my children can move out. It’s absolute discrimination, why don’t we matter?
“This isn’t about benefits as I am up to date with my rent and bills, this is about a safe house where we can sleep at night.
“My children have several complex needs and we need a house that meets our needs. We can’t live like this any more.”
The family was referred to social services to see if they could help in anyway however the outcome was that there were no parenting issues at play however the problems they faced were from where they lived.
A Complex Needs officer went to see Lisa who says that the family’s biggest issue is health.
The officer also stated the option of safe beds, where the children can’t climb out, is usually available however in this case there is no physical space to put the beds.
Lisa feels the only barrier to help is the fact that they’re a big family – and she contacted her local MP Scott Benton for help but felt like the answer was to leave Blackpool in order to re-housed.
Mr Benton told Lancs Live: “My office contacted Housing Options at Blackpool council on behalf of Ms Clarke.
“Unfortunately, Ms Clarke has not yet been placed on a priority list yet due to a backlog caused by assessing cases. We also raised her concerns regarding a leak with Housing Options.
“They offered to contact the landlord, My Blackpool Home, who are also council run to remedy this problem. Sadly Ms Clarke has refused their help and is unwilling to engage with them.
“Housing Options have advised that there is a lack of 6+ bedroom houses in Blackpool, private or social. At no point did my office suggest moving out of Blackpool.
“I’m sure you will understand that 11 bedroom houses are not easy to come by and that the council quite rightly can’t be expected to hold such large properties in their social housing stock. Ultimately it is taxpayers’ money and they must act proportionately. “
However, Lisa denies that she refused access to the council to carry out repairs.
A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “Mrs Clarke has made the council aware of her current housing difficulties, and has applied for re-housing.
“Due to the limited numbers of social housing properties available, including larger homes, assistance has been offered with seeking accommodation in the private rented sector.
“Mrs Clarke’s landlord was previously unaware of the leaks, but following inspection has provided assurance that these will remedied as quickly as possible.”