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Thursday, 25 December 2014

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Let my family have room to grow, pleads Carlisle mum

A desperate shortage of housing in Carlisle is leaving many families cramped into unsuitable homes.

Gaffney family photo
Jackie and David Gaffney with children Caitlin and Ciaran

Riverside housing has revealed it receives up to 12 new applications every day for housing or rehousing in the city alone.

The shocking figures are highlighted by the plight of Jacqueline Gaffney, 29, who shares her tiny two-bedroom home in Dobinson Road, Raffles, with husband David, who is unemployed, and children Caitlin, three-and-a-half, and Ciaran.

Her son turns one on Sunday, but still shares a room with his parents.

“Regulations say that two children of the opposite sex can share a room until they’re 10,” the full-time mum told the News & Star.

“My daughter has a toddler’s bed at the moment, but she needs a full-size bed – she’s only three-and-a-half but is already 3ft 6ins tall, as her dad is 6ft 7ins.

“Once you put a single bed in her room there is no room for anything else.”

Riverside have admitted that the Gaffney’s home is too small for their needs and have given them a higher priority rating – but are powerless to rehouse them with the current property shortage.

Tracy Andrew, customer service team leader, said: “We are aware of this family’s need for rehousing due to overcrowding.

“We reassessed the family’s banding on the waiting list and were able to give them a higher priority in May – but there are still more than 1,000 other households who have a higher priority on the choice based lettings system.”

She continued: “The real problem here is the lack of affordable housing and an increase in the number of families needing housing.

“In Cumbria there are currently 16,000 live applications on the choice based lettings system which is used by all social landlords in Cumbria.

“We are managing 4,000 applications just for Carlisle and we know how desperate many of these families are.”

Mrs Gaffney said she has tried bidding for properties, but that these are often taken away mid-bidding process to be given to a person/people in a life-threatening situation.

She has also been on the transfer list for three years, registered for mutual housing exchange and even put a note in the local shop.

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