FILLED WITH STRESS: Mum’s plea for house move
Sarah Scaife, who has asked YHN to move from her home in Cowgate. Pictured with daughter Lexie, Image: NCJ Media
A Newcastle mum says she has been left “filled with stress” and fearing for her child’s safety while waiting for a move to a suitable home.
Sarah Scaife has pleaded with social housing manager Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) to move her and her two daughters, Lexie and Olive, out of their property in Cowgate.
Eight-year-old Lexie suffers with bladder and bowel problems, meaning she regularly needs to use the toilet during the night.
She has also been diagnosed with co-ordination disorder dyspraxia and, because their Ponteland Road home does not have an upstairs bathroom, Sarah fears her daughter will fall and severely injure herself while trying to make her way downstairs.
After seeing her take a tumble a couple of times already, fortunately without serious consequences, the 28-year-old single mum has been forced to fit a motion sensor to alert her if Lexie gets up during the night and says that the resulting anxiety means that the house “doesn’t feel like a home anymore”.
Lexie has been left having to use a commode in the bedroom that she shares with her six-year-old sister.
But despite trying since last year to try and get YHN to move them to a new place with three bedrooms and an upstairs bathroom, and her daughters’ school writing in support too, the family are yet to be allocated a more suitable property.
A YHN boss said that they “fully understand their desire to move” but that other people in greater need had been allocated properties ahead of Ms Scaife and her daughters.
Ms Scaife said: “I just need a place that is right for my family, so I can parent both of my children in the way that they deserve.
“They both have additional needs and having them crammed into that small bedroom is terrible.
“If Lexie takes a tumble down the stairs then I will hold YHN responsible.
“I feel like I am just a single mum fighting on my own. I feel unsafe in my own home.
“When I walk through the door, it doesn’t feel like a home anymore. It is just filled with stress, pressure and anxiety, it is horrible.”
Ms Scaife is entitled to ‘bid’ on three properties each week through YHN’s portal, but says many of those listed have been outside Newcastle and she does not want to move away from her small support network or force her children to move school.
Crystal Hicks, Assistant Director Housing Services at YHN, said: “We are sorry to hear that Ms Scaife and her children are experiencing difficulties living comfortably in their home and fully understand their desire to move.
“We provided Ms Scaife with a priority banding when we made her active on our Tyne and Wear Homes portal, where customers place bids for available properties, in recognition of her daughter’s health needs and reviewed this again when her daughter’s school contacted us.
“All of the bids that Ms Scaife has placed so far have been for popular house types in very desirable areas, meaning that there is higher than average competition for those properties. Unfortunately, other people in greater need have also bid on those particular properties, and have therefore been successful in moving into them.
“We will contact Ms Scaife to make sure nothing has changed since our most recent check of her circumstances and will of course review her banding if appropriate. We would also advise she contact us so that we can assist her in making the most of the three bids she’s entitled to each week, and hopefully find a solution that suits her daughter’s health needs, while remaining close to her school.”
Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter
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