A family of 10 have told how 'living on top of each other' in a cramped three-bed council house is impacting their health.
Mum Cherie Forrest, 33, and dad Darren have lived at their home in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, for 10 years and with a growing family of 8 kids they now say they are severely overcrowded.
And the shortage of space has caused the couple to take drastic action such as removing doors on one room to fit two beds in, and the pair sleeping separately to help accommodate their brood of six daughters and two sons.
The mum told Birmingham Live the cramped environment at home is now having a negative impact on their children, who are aged between one and 16.
"The kids' school has even written letters to the council and said it's having an impact on the kids."
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Cherie said: "We've been waiting for near enough four years now. It's difficult when there's 10 of you in one little house because you're always tripping over each other."
"We've got my three youngest daughters sleeping in my room – the little one in the bed with me and the others in their own bed.
"My son has to have his own room because he's autistic and he can't have his brother touching his stuff. His room used to be a cupboard room but we had to turn it into a bedroom and take the door off to fit the bed in.
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The three older girls are in a room together but my oldest daughter who's 16 has epilepsy so she needs her own space. Sometimes she'll have seizures in the night and we have to call an ambulance out which then wakes the others up, which isn't ideal.
"If the other two want to play in their bedroom it's difficult because the older one is trying to do her coursework.
"Then my other son is sleeping downstairs with his dad. We have to sleep separately because there just isn't enough room.
"It's really difficult, we can't fit everyone in. We're all living on top of each other."
The pair, who met when they were both working at the same Iceland, say problems escalated just before lockdown when a leak from the upstairs bathroom which recently caused the ceiling underneath to collapse.
But due to Covid repairs took much longer and at at its worst there was 'water shooting down the stairs'.
She added:"You can smell the mould all around the house. It's horrible in the living room, it's all down the back of the sofa."
Cherie said workmen have been out to fix a leaking pipe last week.
Solihull Community Housing, which manages Solihull Council's housing stock, apologised to the Forrest family, but said it only had a very small number of four to six bedroom properties – meaning bigger homes rarely become available.
Fiona Hughes, chief executive, said: "We are very sorry that on this occasion our standards have fallen below what both we and our customers demand and expect.
"We have been working at the property throughout the week and the issues with the roof have now been resolved and finished to our usual standards.
"We are sorry for any inconvenience this caused the family while the work took place.
"We are also aware of the overcrowding in this home. Unfortunately, the number of four to six bedroom properties we manage is very small indeed, and they become available very infrequently.
"We are sorry about this and appreciate the frustration it causes. We will continue to work with this family on exploring a range of alternative housing options that may suit their housing needs."
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