'She hates it': Mum describes Newport temporary accommodation that 'scares' four-year-old daughter

Watch the video report by Charanpreet Khaira

A mum is stuck in temporary accommodation that "scares" her four-year-old daughter amid "grave injustices" faced by vulnerable people, an investigation has found.

Despite evidence of good practice, many thousands of people facing homelessness in Wales are being let down by “systemic maladministration”, a public services ombudsman report found.

One of those let down is Naomi and her four-year-old daughter, who have lived in "constant risk" since February, she says.

She told ITV Wales the windows are too low for her young daughter, who she fears will fall out.

"She hates it here", Naomi said. "She really doesn’t like it here - she cries when we come here.

"It's always people walking up and down drunk, shouting, banging on the door in the early hours of the morning trying to climb the window, scaring her. I just don’t want this life for her."

Naomi says her four-year-old daughter hates the accommodation they've been placed in.

Naomi’s not alone. The investigation by Wales’s public service ombudsman found thousands like her are victims of housing injustice - that’s because of bad communication, unacceptable delays and conditions that aren’t suitable.

The ombudsman's investigation focused on three local authorities – Cardiff, Carmarthenshire and Wrexham – and considered evidence provided by the Welsh Government and third sector organisations such as Shelter Cymru.

Ombudsman Nick Bennett has been investigating this problem for the past 18 months. 

He said: "Systemic maladministration refers to service failure across the system.

"We’re able to draw on lived experience of people who’ve been through this service, some of whom didn’t understand the way in which they were being communicated with. Some who didn’t get communication that was suitable for their circumstances - so for example, a woman who wasn’t able to climb stairs being put on a first floor flat. Someone else who was escaping domestic violence put next to her partner’s family."

Naomi was offered alternative accommodation by her council in Newport, but it was unsuitable because of concerns she had for her family’s safety. Now, she feels she’s not being listened to. 

"(The council) just don’t care. They don’t seem bothered at all. Their attitude is basically it’s here or you’re homeless.

"I just want my own little home for me and my daughter. I don’t feel hopeful at all but I do want to be in my own home by Christmas."

Some of the poor conditions tenants are living in.

Newport City Council’s housing team said that it, like others in Wales, has faced considerable pressures during the pandemic.

A spokesperson said: "Guidance was given to the council in spring 2020 to find accommodation for all those who were sleeping rough or were homeless. There has also been an increase in people being made homeless or at risk of homelessness during that time.

"Our staff have been working tirelessly for more than 18 months to secure temporary accommodation for all those that needed it. This has been particularly challenging as the council does not have its own housing stock.

"Since March 2020, the authority has placed 1,353 households in temporary accommodation and every effort is made to move people on to more permanent housing but demand has outstripped supply.

"Although Newport City Council was not one of the councils featured in the report, we will be considering the Ombudsman’s recommendations that he has made for all local authorities."