Scandal Of Family Living In One Room
This young Ulster family is being forced to live in a single bedroom – because the new home they desperately need has been taken over by squatters.
Pregnant Janine Wilgaus (29) and her six children, aged between one and 10, have had to squeeze into the tiny room at Janine’s parents’ house because the Northern Ireland Housing Executive could not accommodate them.
Four of the children have to share a bed with their mother – who is expecting another child in less than six months – while the two oldest children sleep on the floor.
On top of that, three of Janine’s siblings also live in the house, at Ballysillan in Belfast.
“It just makes me want to cry,” she told the Belfast Telegraph last night. “It is only the kids that are keeping me going. It’s for the kids that I have to keep going.”
Janine, a full-time mum, had been renting from a private landlord but was forced to move her family out when the property was put up for sale.
She went to the Housing Executive for help and as a priority case was offered a four-bedroom home at Silverstream Road – close to her mother and sisters.
She then received a letter confirming the offer – but was contacted just one day after signing for the house to say it was no longer available because squatters had moved in.
Janine is now desperate for her situation to be sorted as soon as possible.
“There are four of us in the one bed – the other two have to sleep on the floor.
“When they are lying in the same bed as me they kick me and everything. We can’t get any sleep. It’s not good for me, my children and it’s not good for my wee baby.”
All of Janine’s belongings, furniture and her children’s toys were put in storage because there is no room for them at her mother’s home.
She added: “The kids are unsettled because they are not in their own place. They don’t have any toys or their clothes. Two of my kids were going on a school trip the other day and I had to go to Primark to buy them an outfit each – it cost me £23 – money that I don’t have. I can’t afford to do that every time.”
The Housing Executive has to follow protocol to evict the illegal occupants which could take months.
In the meantime, however, Janine said she doesn’t know how much more she can take.
She said: “Christmas is just around the corner and I haven’t a thing in – I just hope we can get something before then or it won’t be much of a Christmas. I just don’t know what to do.”
In a statement, the Housing Executive apologised for the distress caused to Janine and her family.
It read: “The Housing Executive apologises for any disappointment this may have caused and staff in the north Belfast district office will continue to liaise with Janine in an effort to re-house her as quickly as possible within her areas of choice.”