Mariam's story

Mariam’s story

November 9, 2018

Mariam and her three children became homeless after severe domestic violence by her husband left them in fear for their lives.

When we first met her, she was living with her teenage sons and her young daughter in emergency accommodation – a freezing one-bedroom outhouse in the garden of a hotel.

‘We have to shower down there [at my friend’s house] and dress. We can’t even wash any clothes here.’

So cold they could barely sleep

The accommodation was run-down, and so badly infested with bed bugs and fleas that the whole family suffered from constant itching and rashes. The facilities were in such terrible condition that they had to shower and cook at a friend’s house.

The faulty heating meant that it got so cold that her three-year-old daughter Zara could barely sleep. With no space to study and no internet access, her son Una couldn’t revise for his GCSEs.

‘The council promises you lots of things but they don’t do anything. They don’t treat you like a human.’

Luckily, when things were at their worst, Mariam got in touch and we changed everything.

Shelter Birmingham put pressure on the council and got Mariam into a cleaner temporary home where the family were safe. Within just six months, our paralegal service had helped Mariam secure a permanent two-bedroom council property.

We also donated toys to ensure that Zara, who had been through so much in her short life, had presents to open on her birthday and Christmas.

Sadly, Mariam’s story is not unique. Across the UK, too many families will be spending Christmas in unacceptable conditions in temporary accommodation.

Please support our urgent appeal for homeless families. A donation of just £30 can answer three urgent calls to our helpline, and make sure a family like Mariam’s doesn’t have to face homelessness alone.