'Too many children': Single mother of six is told no to emergency housing
A Telford single mother left with no heating, hot water or cooking facilities for a week after a gas leak at her housing association property was told that she didn't qualify for emergency accommodation because she has too many children.
Mother-of-six Mickey Jenkins says the problems began when she smelled gas last Friday at her home in Dunsheath, Hollinswood.
She said: "We have been having problems with the boiler for the last couple of years now.
"Every year a service engineer comes and says this it needs replacing but the housing association has just kept patching it up."
She added that she had lived in the property, which is owned by Worcester-based Sanctuary Housing Association, for more than four years.
"When I smelled gas last week, the first thing I did was call Cadent [gas company] before ringing Sanctuary," she said.
"Cadent found a gas leak and turned the gas off. I was very worried as I have six children and when you see gas explosions on the television they are very frightening.
"When Sanctuary came out, they said the gas could not be turned on again until it was fixed, and they told me that they were planning to repair it but it might not be for more than a week."
Ms Jenkins says she asked Sanctuary for temporary accommodation until the problem was fixed but was told that it wold not be possible as she had too many children.
"Sanctuary have a duty care and should have found me somewhere else to go." she added.
"They did say they would do that but after the weekend the housing officer came back to me and said is manager had told him it would be too difficult as I have too many children and because one of them has autism so is classed as having special needs."
Ms Jenkins, whose children are aged between four and 12, says she feels "abandoned" by the housing association.
"It has been horrible," she said. "We have not been able to bath and have had to boil the kettle just to wash up. My kids have said they wold rather be at school because it is too cold here. I feel abandoned."
The 30-year-old says she has been resorting to strip washing her children in the sink and as her cooker is 100 per cent gas she has no means of cooking meals for her family.
A spokesman for Sanctuary Housing Association said: “An issue with the boiler was discovered on Friday, March 17, and when it could not be repaired and we immediately ordered a new one.
"An appointment has been agreed with Miss Jenkins to install the new boiler on Friday, March 24, as soon as it is delivered.
“In the meantime, the family have been provided with portable electric heaters to use and we have offered reassurance that we will reimburse the costs of any extra energy used.”