A struggling dad has been forced to divide his teen daughter and son’s bedroom with a curtain to give them at least a little privacy in the family’s cramped flat.
Simon Mansbridge stays in the small two bedroom property with his wife and two children, with the council telling him they would qualify for a larger home four years ago.
But despite bidding on the Homefinder app every week, the 41-year-old has yet to receive a single offer, Coventry Live reports.
In the time he has been waiting, his children have become teenagers and have been left with no other option but to share the tiny room – with the dire situation starting to have an impact on their mental health.
He said: “It is very stressful because I don’t see Lorena having her own space, my son having his own space, I would say it is stressful on them as well, because they have to put up with each other.”
When Mr Mansbridge was given full custody of his daughter Lorena three years ago, he was told they would qualify for a bigger property.
But this hasn’t happened, and things in the flat are piling up.
“I’ve cut up a curtain dividing the bedroom so they can shut themselves off from each other, so yeah I have put a curtain up in the center of the bedroom dividing [it] so they can shut the curtains and have some privacy.
“But it isn’t a very big room, there’s two beds, two chest of drawers, a wardrobe, they really haven’t got a lot of space” he said.
And it causes practical issues on top of the emotional distress: “My daughter at aged 14 has her monthlies and that, she needs her own space and her own privacy, when they’re getting changed, one will go into the bathroom while the other will use the bedroom, they’re having to knock the door and ask if they can come in.”
The children’s bedroom has been split exactly in half by Mr Mansbridge, with his daughter Lorena’s side decorated with pictures of friends, cards and Disney bedding.
His son Kerrison’s side is painted blue, with his Xbox, aftershaves and birthday cards hung up.
Despite all of this, Mr Mansbridge’s daughter Lorena continues to excel at school, and Kerrison works with him as a butcher in Alderman’s Green.
But their situation has now become desperate.
Mr Manbridge said: “When I got custody of my daughter, I’ve taken court orders down to [the council] to show that I need a bigger property because I have custody of my daughter, it has not done anything in the way of pushing me forward for a three bedroom property.
“Over the past couple of months, at weekends, [my son] has been going out at staying at his friend’s houses, so he has his own personal space, but other than that in the week he’s stuck at home.
“We are very stressed, limited on space with furniture, everyone’s belongings within the flat, it is a big struggle especially in the evenings when I get home. [I’m] trying to get things sorted, dinners done for everyone, getting everyone so they can sit down and relax and have their own space in the evenings.”
Mr Mansbridge has lived in the flat for 15 years, but said that the family cannot afford a deposit for a private property: “The rent now on private properties is extortionate it is getting impossible.
“The stress of bidding on properties for three years it’s taking it toll on myself and my partner.”
Coventry City Council were approached about their HomeFinder waiting list.
A spokesperson for Coventry City Council said: “The new Homefinder scheme went live on the 13 September 2021, and since then there have been 53 three-bedroom properties let and 52 of those have gone to Band 1 – which is the highest priority band.
“We currently have 1,223 households on the scheme with a three-bedroom need and 782 are one-bedroom overcrowded.
“So there is a significant waiting list.
“We understand Mr Mansbridge’s concerns, and if he believes he should be in a different banding, then he can submit a change of circumstances form with the reasons for the change and we will assess this against the Homefinder policy.
“Alternatively he may need to consider privately renting a property to resolve his circumstances more quickly.”
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