1. ITV Report

Mother sharing one room with five children pleads for house

28-year-old Melanie Pyke became a mother of five after the death of her sister. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

A homeless Newport mother, sharing a room in a Bed & Breakfast with five young children, under the age of nine, is making a plea for a house from the council.

28-year-old Melanie Pyke is a mother of five. She has three children of her own aged 7, 5, and 18 months old, and recently took on the care of her sister's two children, after she died in April.

Melanie had been living above the pub where she worked in Newport with her three children.

But when she took on the care of he late sister's children, Melanie had to quit her job and became homeless.

Melanie shares this room with five children under the age of nine. Credit: Melanie Pyke

The family of six now share a room on the third floor, in a B&B in Abertillery, after Newport County Council stepped in with temporary accommodation.

The B&B is seventeen miles from Newport where the children attend school and nineteen miles from Melanie's mother Karen.

Melanie says the room is 'crowded' and the family has to use a shared bathroom.

They also have to use the bathroom altogether, as she cannot leave any of the children unattended.

That means if one of the children need to the use the toilet at night, they have to use a bucket in the room.

The shared bathroom is a mission because obviously with the children being such different aged from 18 months to 9, packing up all their things at nighttime to take down to the bathroom, from nappies to towels to shampoos, taking it all the way down to the bathroom. One night there was somebody in the bathroom so then I've got to take it all the way back up to the room and then try again later because you can't leave the children on their own.

– Melanie Pyke

Newport City Council say there is a shortage of housing but they have 'discussed other options' such as privately-rented accommodation with Ms Pyke:

We have more than one family with complex and difficult personal circumstances in temporary accommodation and we are doing everything we can to help them all.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our dedicated housing team, there is a limited supply.

Households are listed in priority order on the Home Options waiting list but there is significantly high demand for housing overall. Ms Pyke is applying for vacancies and being considered but the housing associations are responsible for letting their properties through this process.

These are permanent tenancies and a three-bedroom house would not be large enough for this family on a permanent basis.

We have discussed other options with her around finding privately-rented accommodation and have offered assistance in securing this and will continue to do so.

– Newport City Council