Immigrant Mother Claims Coming Home To Her Temporary Housing Is 'Mental Torture'

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Corelle Tertullien, a mother of two, had moved out of her family home because of overcrowding, and managed to get accommodated at a hostel in Southall, west London and then later moved to nearby Hanwell.

Just before she gave birth, she was told that she would be moving yet again.

She said, "When I got the phone call, he said, 'oh, we have a flat for you.' And then when I came here, I realized obviously this is not a flat. This is a shipping container. When they tell you, they make it out like it's a flat or a house, but no, it's a shipping container."

She is now one of the residents in the “housing estate” which features 34 containers stacked up and covered with wood.

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She added, "We're all sleeping in one bed at the moment because I can't fit the cot in here, there's no space. There's no bathtub. Originally I was washing him [her baby] in the kitchen sink but now I wash him on the floor, getting a cup and washing him that way, because he's too big to fit in the sink now."

With the heat and lack of circulation, she had to keep her sons in nappies the entire time, have a fan on, and keep the doors open.

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that she cried when she saw where she was going to live. She said, "When I got here and saw all of this, the container, I was crying."

According to the Bleak Houses report, about 124,000 children are officially categorized as homeless or in temporary accommodation, and another 90,000 in "sofa-surfing families."

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Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, stated that homelessness was "robbing... children of a decent childhood."

She said: "No child should be spending months if not years living in a converted shipping container, a dodgy old office block or an emergency B&B. We constantly hear from struggling families forced to accept unsuitable, and sometimes downright dangerous accommodation because they have nowhere else to go. The devastating impact this has on a child's development and wellbeing cannot be overstated."

Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield stated: "Something has gone very wrong with our housing system when children are growing up in B&Bs, shipping containers and old office blocks. Children have told us of the disruptive and at times frightening impact this can have on their lives. It is a scandal that a country as prosperous as ours is leaving tens of thousands of families in temporary accommodation for long periods of time, or to sofa surf.”

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However, an Ealing Council spokesman maintained that the council was among the first "to use innovative modular homes as temporary accommodation."

He added: "Made from heavily modified shipping containers, the homes offer a stable, comfortable environment for vulnerable homeless families who have nowhere else to go. While we would rather offer people the opportunity to live in genuinely affordable permanent homes, the housing crisis means we have no choice but to use temporary accommodation to house the sheer volume of homeless households that present to us."

Sources: Sky News