Eli and her partner had a newborn baby when they moved into a privately rented flat in mid Wales. They soon realised the flat was in a poor state of repair: ‘There was damp all over the walls,’ she said, ‘and it was freezing. We kept phoning the landlady to say, but she never came.’
Living in these conditions took its toll on the baby’s health. ‘The baby kept getting sick with chest infections and coughs,’ said Eli. ‘We had to get out of there.’
In desperation Eli and her partner moved out. The baby’s health improved immediately. But when Eli tried to get the council to help them find somewhere else to live, they were told they should go back to the flat.
‘The council said it was reckless for us to leave the house without a plan with a baby,’ said Eli, who was 18 at the time. ‘But all we knew was that the baby was always ill in that house but has been fine since.
‘They made us feel like we were trying it on to get a council house, but we weren’t. It was grim.’