'˜Please help us', says family of six crammed into tiny Milton Keynes council flat with one bedroom
A family of six living in a tiny council flat with ONE bedroom have pleaded for help to ease their overcrowding.
Natalina Tamburro and her partner Stuart Thomas are both working, claim no benefits, and have lived in MK all their lives.
They moved into the first floor Netherfield flat for 10 years. But as their family grew, what started out as a cosy nest has turned into a home so crowded it is a health hazard, said 28-year-old Natalina.
“We are literally living on top of each other. The three older children are squashed into one bedroom, with two of them sleeping top to tail in one single bed.
“Stuart and I sleep on a bed settee in the living room, which is also a kitchen, with the baby in a travel cot squeezed in beside us.
“All around us are boxes stacked up holding our possessions as there’s no room for storage.”
Natalina,a part-time sales assistant, and 30-year-old scaffold worker Stuart, earn a combined weekly wage of around £400 .
“Private rented houses are out of our price range so we have to rely on the council,” said Natalina.
Although the family has been Band 1 priority for months, not one property has been offered to them, she said.
The eldest child Tyler is 10 and shares a bedroom with his two youngest sisters, which is against official advice on sibling room sharing.
Natalina says there are also huge problems carrying the baby, buggy and shopping up the outside staircase to the flat, which does not have a garden for the children to play in.
A council spokesman said: “Obviously we have a great deal of sympathy with this family – and their case is indeed a band 1 – the highest priority. Unfortunately there are other families in the area with an even greater need.”
He added: “The shortage of council housing in Milton Keynes is well-known and we are working to address this issue* – but the type of home this family is looking for is in particularly short supply.However, we will continue to liaise closely with this family, and as soon as we are able to offer them a suitable home, we will.”
Meanwhile Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Nigel Long, said: “I am deeply concerned about the large number of people in overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation across MK. Too many people are struggling to find an affordable home that meets their needs. The private rented sector is too expensive and insecure, the council and social housing sectors have too few new lets each year. Low cost home ownership is also out of reach for many young working families. “ “What we need is the Government to free MK Council to build hundreds, if not thousands of new homes for low rents or low cost hone ownership. But the Government has imposed a cap on our ability to invest. We have the assets, we have the cash flow. We just need the freedom to invest. Until we can invest families will carry on living in poor quality over crowded housing. That is not right. And an indictment of divided MK in its 50th year.” Mr Long added: “We have written to Government ministers and they have refused to remove the cap. MK Council also supports removal of the cap. But both local MPs have refused to support ending the cap. They have backed their housing ministers. they are out of touch with the housing needs of hard working families struggling to get a decent home for their children.”