Woman issues plea for bigger property to live in
Family of nine living in council house suitable for six
A WOMAN caring for seven children after her sister died suddenly is desperate for a bigger house.
For nearly a year there have been nine members of the family living in Donna Backhouse’s Birstall home, which is only suitable for six.
Donna’s sister, Melanie, was 41 when she died suddenly at home in early November last year and Melanie’s children, Mollie, seven and Billy, 11, moved in with Donna and her husband, Jason.
She said: “We have two girls in one small room where one has to climb over the other one’s bed to reach hers. Then, in another room there are three boys, including my 11-year-old nephew who is autistic and is really struggling with that.
“The house has four bedrooms but it’s very small and very crowded.
“I’ve been in touch with the council, MPs and charities and nothing is happening.”
Donna, 37, and her family are on Charnwood Borough Council’s waiting list for a larger house but so far nothing suitable has become available, with the council only having five homes with more than four bedrooms and none of them available.
A further limitation is that Donna is desperate to stay in Birstall, rather than causing any more trauma to Melanie’s children, who were in the house when their mother died.
Donna said: “It’s been nearly a year since Melanie died and she was found dead in her home with her children present. She hadn’t been eating much and we think that led to her death.
“I want to stay in Birstall for the sake of my son, who’s doing his GCSEs, and for Melanie’s children who have already been through a traumatic experience and don’t need more upheaval.”
Donna is struggling to understand why no one has been able to help her family. She said: “I work in the local shop and people are always telling me they can’t believe we don’t have a bigger house yet.
“I asked the council why they couldn’t knock two together if they don’t have any big ones. There are lots in the village that are under-occupied and have two or three bedrooms that aren’t being used.
“The council keeps asking me to make bids on houses with three and four bedrooms but they won’t be big enough.”
A Charnwood Borough Council spokesman said: “We sympathise with Miss Backhouse’s circumstances. “However, due to very high demand and the limited number of properties the council owns, it is not always possible to match tenants with the homes they want. “The council has about 5,500 properties but only five which have either five or six bedrooms. They are occupied and we do not expect them to be available in the near future. “We cannot evict people for under-occupancy but we do offer incentives for people to downsize if appropriate.
“Miss Backhouse is in the priority band and we have advised considering bidding on three or four bedroom properties which may be larger than her current property or have other rooms that may be usable as a bedroom.
“We are doing all we can to support Miss Backhouse but ultimately we do not have an endless supply of properties and larger family homes are always in high demand.
“We will continue to offer support to Miss Backhouse.”
Billy Sharpe, 11, Donna Backhouse, 37, Mollie Sharpe, 7, Fallon Backhouse, 10, Tyler Backhouse, 15, Cyrus Backhouse, 5, Kieren Backhouse, 16, Ashby Backhouse, 7.