Gillian Walker, from Middlesbrough, Teesside, said that the flat would get so cold that her bedding and clothing would become damp, and that under age drug users would vomit in the hallways
Image: Stuart Boulton)
A mother barely surviving on £240 per month Universal Credit was unable to escape a ‘freezing, vomit-stained’ block of flats because of £200 rent arrears that she thinks affected her chances of securing a new home.
Gillian Walker, from Middlesbrough, Teesside, said that the flat would get so cold that her bedding and clothing would become damp, and that under age drug users would congregate in the hallways and even vomit on the floor.
She added that she couldn’t afford to heat the house, a problem exacerbated by the £20 Universal Credit Covid uplift being scrapped in September.
Speaking about the conditions, the 53-year-old mum told Teesside Live : “I’m on Universal Credit, I’ve go no money to even put the heating on.
“It is that cold my bedding and my clothes are cold and damp.”
Gillian has been living in the block of around 15 properties in Berwick Hills, east of Middlesbrough’s centre.
“There have been kids coming in and doing drugs, and they’ve thrown up all over,” she claimed.
“The conditions are really bad. They are mouldy, damp and there’s condensation on the windows.
“(The flats) don’t get cleaned very often and there is no double glazing – if I put the heating on, that costs me £10 for one heater and that’s just for one day.”
Inside, window ledges are heavily stained while boarded up windows and barbed wire surround the flats, with Gillian adding: “They are just boarding them up and not putting anyone else in them.”
Desperate for a new place to live, she had attempted to bid for a new property.
“They’ve said they won’t move me because I owe money,” claimed Gillian.
“At the minute, I’ve got a thermometer and it’s as low as nine degrees and they know I can’t afford to put the heating on.”
However, her persistence paid off and recently, she was offered a new property just in time for Christmas. Within hours of contacting the Thirteen Group, the housing firm confirmed plans were underway to find her somewhere new.
Chris Marshall, head of housing at Thirteen, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Gillian’s experience and we’ve been in touch with her today to do a full assessment of her situation and needs, and as a result of this we’ve offered her alternative accommodation.”