Terrified young mum in despair as baby chokes on mould in damp council flat
A young mum, living with her six-month-old baby, says she is living in constant fear for her daughter’s life because of the damp and mould-ridden council flat.
Brianna Darcy, 24, lives in a one-bedroom flat with baby Maeve and partner Matthew in Kingstanding, Birmingham.
Conditions are “dire” with baby Maeve “spluttering and turning red” and having late-night coughing fits, which Ms Darcy believes are due to the damp conditions and mould.
Thoughout Ms Darcy’s pregnancy, she was terrified of losing her unborn child. She said: “I didn’t actually think she’d be born because throughout the whole of my pregnancy I was terrified of losing her. She was unable to regulate her temperature which kept her in hospital and, now she’s here, I’m so over-protective.”
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Ms Darcy described her living conditions in Birmingham Live and has tried to remove the mould herself: “There’s black mould near to where she sleeps in her Moses basket. I’m really worried she’ll develop asthma or something, and I don’t want that for her. I just feel awful and so guilty that I can’t fix it. I’ve been to the shop to get mould cleaner and stuff but it just keeps coming back.”
Even taking pictures for memories with her baby is uncomfortable for the mother, who does not want Maeve to know she grew up in “this kind of environment”.
The mother-of-one, who grew up in care, claims Universal Credit and says she struggles with her mental health.
She added: “Growing up in care, you always dream of having your own home and decorating, having pictures everywhere and I can’t do none of that for her. The nicest place I can take [Maeve] is actually outside. I hate coming home. It’s the walls, the smell, it’s just so frustrating. It’s not nice. You can see the mould growing everywhere and I just hate it.”
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Kingstanding councillor, Rick Payne, has defended the mum’s complaints, labelling the state of her council flat “unfit for human habitation”.
My Payne said: “Brianna and her family have been totally let down by Birmingham City Council. Cases like this are why the housing ombudsman has had to issue statutory notices against the council. I have been in contact with the council demanding urgent repairs and improvements to her property.”
Cllr Payne added: “Unfortunately this is all too common within Birmingham and is a direct result of the lack of proper investment into council properties and the repair of them. It is clear to me that the council has failed to look after their tenants in even the most basic of needs.”
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A spokesperson from Birmingham City Council said: “We are sorry to hear about the problems experienced by Ms Darcy and assure her we will do everything we can to assist in addressing the issues. Our contractor carried out repairs in relation to the reported mould in January of this year but it seems the mould has re-occurred due to what appears to be an ongoing leak possibly from the above property.”
The council says it is working with contractors to resolve any outstanding repairs she has reported.
It added: “With regards to Ms Darcy’s housing application, we do have a live application and she has a confirmed banding position on the housing register. Ms Darcy is able to bid on suitable properties and we provide support to ensure our customers are able to bid effectively. As with many landlords, we face a national housing crisis, resulting in very high demand for homes in the city.”
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