I’m a single parent with three children. My 15 year old daughter Sasha is severely disabled. For the last 15 years I’ve been trying to secure her suitable accommodation – a property which is safe for her and gives her some independence through being adapted – but I’ve been unsuccessful.
We’ve also been constantly facing eviction from different private rental properties since 2016, for reasons that are out of our control. Last year we were living in a bungalow, and the landlords gave us a section 21 after we’d been there only four months, as they decided they wanted to sell.
I can’t keep doing this to my children. My eight-year-old son Josh has had seven different houses, he’s in Year 4 and he’s been to three different schools. He’s having a lot of behaviour issues because of it. He’s very like Jekyll and Hyde, he’s very explosive and I think it’s a lot of insecurity that he doesn’t know where he is half the time, whether he’s coming or going.
Sasha has lived in 14 different houses during her lifetime. We haven’t had a house that feels like a home for years.
The council says there is nothing suitable for us. When we were facing eviction last year, there was nothing that was right for us with my daughter’s needs. My daughter has difficulty walking and with stairs. So, for her to be as independent as possible she needs everything on the ground floor. She also has equipment including an electric wheelchair, and feeding tubes, which take up a lot of space.
Our only option was to go back into private renting, which is difficult because I get housing benefit, so many landlords won’t let to us. It’s also unaffordable and very insecure. It’s such a horrible feeling when you’re renting to know that you could be told at any time to leave, for nothing that you have done wrong. You can’t keep living like that.
Obviously rent always has to come first, but then my daughter misses out because I have to spend the money that is meant for her therapies, on rent.
Recently a professional accused me of wanting my ‘dream home’. My dream home is on a farm, a big house, with chickens running about in the field, horses, that’s my dream home. I’m not expecting that.
All I’m asking for is a home that we can live in where we don’t have to move again.
I’m asking for a house where we have enough room, where my boys can play, where my daughter can be independent, where she can access her bedroom, where she can be safe in the bath, and she can move around freely with her equipment. I’ve been asking for that for 15 years.
Kimberley’s story is not unusual. Many people with disabled children are unable to find a suitable home in the private rented sector. They need social housing – but there is not enough social housing for everyone who needs it.
That is why we’ve come up with a comprehensive vision for social housing, so that more families, whatever their situation, can have a proper home. You can help us put pressure on politicians to build more social housing.
Have you had a bad housing experience? If so share your story with Shelter to raise awareness of the need for safe, secure and affordable homes.