Mum forced to share bed with autistic 18-year-old son in temporary housing

White and blue checked bed sheets on double bed

A social housing tenant has been relocated by Haringey Council into an "unsuitable" flat for her and her family. - Credit: Anastasia Prideina

A Crouch End social housing tenant has accused Haringey Council of rehoming her family in a small flat that's not suitable for her autistic teenage son's complex needs.

As a result, she has to share a bed with him.

In June 2020, Ella*, 39, and her two teenage sons were temporarily moved from her permanent council-owned home to a two-bed flat.

Ella's previous house, which she says she loved, was in disrepair, and the council moved her family to fix it.

It was supposed to be a temporary measure but nearly two years later, she's still in an unsuitable flat.

When contacted by the Ham&High, Haringey said "works have now been completed inside the property" and that it will be contacting Ella this week about moving back in.

But almost two years of uncertainty has taken a toll on her mental wellbeing. 

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Ella's elder son, who will turn 19 soon, is autistic, non-verbal and dyspraxic.

"He is very loud at night. He needs his own space," Ella said.

At the moment, Ella shares a bed with him so that her other son, who is studying for his GCSEs soon, can rest and study in peace.

"This is not suitable housing. I'm lucky I've got a flat like this, but at the same time, I should be in my own bedroom," she said.

"It's too much to cope with, and our neighbours are getting grumpy with us.

"Two weeks ago, my son flooded the bathroom. The lady underneath was not happy. It's another reason why we need to be in our own house," said Ella, who works as a care coordinator.

Her son struggles to walk up stairs, but the current flat is on the second floor.

Ella has tried to raise these issues with the council, but said she has been unable to get help. She has not  yet heard any update on the repairs to her former home.

"I couldn't even tell you who our housing officer is. No one has contacted me," she said. 

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We apologise for the delay in the works to the property and the lack of communication that falls below our normal standards."

“We can confirm that the works have now been completed inside the property and it is undergoing final safety checks.  We will be contacting the resident this week to arrange a date for them to move back in.”

*Not her real name.