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Couple and two kids ‘at breaking point’ after sleeping on sofa for two years

One couple is at their breaking point due to housing inadequacies. Catherine Celiesius and Shane Turner are the parents of a baby and a toddler, with who they share a couch at night. The one-bedroom flat has a kitchen, a bathroom, and a lounge, where the family sleeps. Freddie, Catherine’s 7-year-old from a previous relationship, has ADHD and can be aggressive, so he has the bedroom to himself.

Every night at 7 pm, Catherine and Shane gather their toddler, Cody, and one-year-old, Lola, to join them for bed. Lola sleeps in a cot next to the pulled-out sofa bed the family shares.

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The sofa bed in Catherine Celiesius' flat
BPM Media

Being a busy mom to children with special needs means Catherine needs time to take care of responsibilities. However, because they all go to sleep at 7 pm, there’s no time to get anything done. Also, sharing a sofa-bed means if one person moves, everyone wakes up. So, there’s no way to get up to clean dishes, sort out tomorrow’s clothes, or handle essential tasks.

Read: This Homeless Father of Five Can’t Find a Shelter Currently Taking Men with Children

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Couple Reaches out for Help

It’s difficult to raise three children in a small space. Catherine says, “it’s a nightmare” for the couple.

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We don’t get much sleep. I try to have a routine but we haven’t got any separate space. I can’t put the lights on or do anything to make any noise. If I go into the kitchen, it disturbs the children even more as it’s so nearby.”

It means we can’t get any jobs done, put the TV on or do the washing up, I have to do it in the morning. We just spend the evenings trying to settle the children. It’s stressful. Lola sleeps in a cot at the moment but she’s getting bigger now and I don’t know where she’s going to sleep.”

Mirror
Mum Catherine Celiesius with her kids Freddie, Cody and baby Lola
BPM Media

We are reaching breaking point,” Catherine told the Mirror.

Before leaving her job for maternity time off to raise Lola, Catherine worked in a nursery. She is currently unemployed but trying to get her qualifications to be a certified nail technician. However, when the lights are off at 7 pm, there’s not much time left for studying.

Shane is also unemployed, suffers from autism, ADHD and dyspraxia. He was attempting to get his HGV license before covid hit the UK.

When Catherine moved into Shane’s flat in 2019, he lived there for eight years. Now, the family is too large to stay in such a small place. So, after a few days, the couple applied to move to a different, more adequate housing option. Sadly, they were met with delay after delay.

Read: Man Shames Guy For Carrying Sick Daughter, Dad’s Reply Leaves Him Sobbing

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What are the Options?

Several councils and housing authorities tried to help the couple out, but there are lists and prioritized placements. Before moving in with Shane, the housing association did give Catherine an option that might have worked. However, the alternative was to move into a hostel. Unfortunately, with Freddie’s condition and aggressiveness, he couldn’t be in such an environment.

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We truly feel like every day we are just surviving rather than living our lives,” Catherine stated to Mirror.

A spokesperson from the Birmingham City Council explained how the process works and what options are available if people are unsatisfied.

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Properties that become available to the City Council are advertised through our choice based lettings scheme, and those on the register need to bid for suitable properties, these are then allocated to the household that bids with the greatest housing need. If applicants consider that it is taking too long we advise they look at other options.

Mirror

It’s never easy to look at your children and know you could do better for them. Because, in the end, it’s not only us who has to pay for them. It’s our kids as well.

Keep Reading: The Story of the ‘World’s longest Down’s Syndrome marriage’

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Sources:
1. “Couple and two kids ‘at breaking point’ after sleeping on sofa for two years.” The Mirror UK. Zoe Chamberlain, Ryan Merrifield. October 23, 2021

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Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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