A disabled single mum-of-two says she faces eviction and homelessness from where she lives within days.
Maria Cann has claimed she’s been stuck in a freezing cold “house from hell” with a smashed front window, and damp-infested walls.
She has said living in the property, in Morriston, Swansea, has left her terrified and sick with stress after living there and facing eviction, Wales Online reports .
In August, 2021, Maria, 28, was given a six-month eviction notice after her landlord told her he wanted to sell the house.
Since, Maria has spent months pleading to Swansea Council and housing associations to try and get alternative housing for her and her children.
However, she has been unable to and was even advised to remain at her existing property until evicted by bailiffs.
Now she faces eviction in only two days time.
When Maria first moved into the property three years ago, she thought it was “fantastic”, until she claimed she noticed a damp problem that she believed had left her son asthmatic.
She claimed: “At first it looked fantastic, but after two weeks I started to notice the damp and it just grew so fast.
“My children can’t even have a bath in my house – my mum, who is disabled, has to drive 45 minutes to pick us up so we can use her shower. It’s just awful, absolutely awful.
“My son started to get really unwell. He developed a bad cough and he couldn’t play, couldn’t run without being violently sick, and he started coughing to the point where he couldn’t breathe.
“He’s now been diagnosed with asthma.”
Maria also claimed her house didn’t didn’t warm through properly, in part due to a smashed window she claimed her landlord was yet to fix.
Maria, whose children are aged five and eight, claimed: “The house is so cold, even when the heating is on. When you walk into the bathroom and the kitchen, it’s like walking straight outside. It’s like being outside.
“Somebody smashed my living room window around eight months ago with a stone (which she believes was connected to a previous tenant).
“The landlord still hasn’t fixed it. The stone went through the first layer of glass and whenever a car goes past bits of glass fly out. It’s making the house even colder.”
When Maria received the eviction notice in August, 2021, she said she immediately contacted the council and various other housing associations, hoping that six months would be more than enough time to find housing.
Sadly, this wasn’t the case.
She said: “As soon as I received the notice back in August, I contacted every housing association, as well as the council, to inform them I had six months to find a new home. I gave all the necessary evidence and documentation of my case as soon as it was requested.The council housing officer said that he wouldn’t be able to award homeless points until December 16, for whatever reason.
“I’ve looked for private properties to rent, but I’m disabled, I’m on benefits, and I’m really struggling to keep a roof over our head and put food in our stomachs at the minute, let alone save up at least £1,500 for a bond and rent.
“I informed the council that I’d apply for anywhere in Swansea and the surrounding area, even if that means being ripped away from my community and friends. I just need to have a home with my children.”
As soon as December 16 arrived, Maria said she reached out to the council to follow up, but again, she didn’t have much luck.
“The housing officer was out of the office until the middle of January, but they told me not to stress about it, that I’d be re-housed in time. I was so anxious waiting for a response, never knowing what’s going on I was told I was 17th on the waiting list, but this bumped down to 27th the next time I called – I don’t know why.
“It’s now February, and we’re going to have everything ripped away from us in a couple of days.”
When it became clear that no housing options would become available to Maria and her two children, she claimed the housing officer informed her that she could stay in the house until forcibly removed.
She said: “Then the housing officer said that they can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to re-house me in time. Instead they advised me to stay in the tenancy until my landlord appeals to the court to get me evicted by This means that the bailiff would take me and my children and throw us and all our stuff out on the street.
“I’m a mum. The one thing I should be able to do is to provide a home for my children. The situation has only gotten worse, and my daughter recently asked me, ‘mummy, where are we going to live? ‘”.
In terms of help from family and friends, Maria’s mum is severely disabled and could only do so much, she said.
“My mum is severely disabled and she has no room to take us in. I haven’t got many friends, either. My mental health is at an all time low. I have anxiety, depression and PTSD and I’m really struggling, I can’t seem to find a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I feel so unwell and I’m so scared.”
As well as struggling with her mental health, the stress of the situation has taken a toll on Maria’s physical health, too.
She said: “I’ve been in and out of hospital with pressure on my brain, and I’ve also had tests for blood cancer. I have back problems, and everyday life can be difficult for me without all of this going on. “
Maria’s landlord has been contacted for comment.
A spokesperson for Swansea Council said: “We’re aware of Ms Cann’s situation and our Housing Options team is working with her to find alternative accommodation as quickly as possible.”
Maria has recently set up a GoFundMe page, which you can donate to here.