A homeless mum and her children have been told to move from a city following reports that the council are ‘clearing out families’ to allow space for Commonwealth Games visitors.
Last week Birmingham City Council confirmed that up to 20 families were being moved out of temporary accommodation as hotels were unable to carry on offering rooms.
The move has been called ‘inhumane’ by charity campaigners, who say vulnerable families are being moved out of sight for the duration of the Commonwealth Games.
Fatima Abuleil and her children are one of the families who were told to uproot themselves from their Holiday Inn Express room last week, reports Birmingham Live.
The 46-year-old refused after regularly voicing concern over the conditions of the room which she claimed was affecting her daughter, Assya’s, health.
She also questioned the impact the move to another city would have taking the family being away from their support network.
She is now living with friends in Hall Green, but the family’s latest struggle comes as they were previously engulfed in tragedy.
A fatal gas explosion tore Fatima’s family apart, killing her husband and two children of her five children.
Assya, now 17, was left disfigured in the blast, suffering with second and third degree burns and needing over 20 operations and a prolonged road to recovery.
Before being informed about shifting to Coventry, Fatima raised issues over lack of cleanliness and dusty condition of the carpet of the room causing breathing issues for Assya.
Labour MP Jess Philips, who has been involved in her case, informed the housing department of Fatima’s concerns with the temporary accommodation.
The mum said she felt her and her three surviving children were ‘ignored and helpless’ after the council told her to move to Coventry.
The local authority have promised extra support for those families displaced for the duration of the games which begin at Alexander Stadium on Thursday, July 8.
Fatima told BirminghamLive : “My daughter has burns on her face which means the scar is in her nose and she has narrow breathing. When we took her to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital they said she had a high dust allergy. When we entered the hotel room in the Holiday Inn, my daughter could tell the dust levels were too high.
“I tried to clean everything but she was itching and she couldn’t breathe in the night. I requested if I could change into an accommodation with hard flooring.
“I was told to send a doctors report to the council explaining my situation. The doctors could only give a better nasal spray to deal with the situation.”
As well as the lack of cleanliness and dusty carpets, Fatima mentioned the hotel room did not have a fridge as Assya’s medicine which must be refrigerated and no cooking facilities to make food as buying readymade food is costly.
In an email sent to Fatima, seen by BirminghamLive, she was told her family would need to relocate to Coventry to one of the ‘ sister hotels for the duration of the Commonwealth Games’.
But this would cause difficulty for Fatima and her family as it would mean moving away from her support network and her place of work.
Fatima said: “Suddenly I was told everyone would need to check out from the hotel on 14 July because of the Commonwealth Games. Then I was told I would need to move to Coventry. How can I do this?
“I have two other children and I need to travel to London to do operation for my daughter- where should I leave my children? In a place where I don’t know anyone?
“I’m a single mum and I don’t have any support. My support networks are here so I can’t go far away. It’s very hard what I’m going through but I have to be strong for my children as I’m the only parent they have.” she added.
Responding to Fatima’s case, Ms Philips told BirminghamLive: “I am not able to direct Birmingham City Council to act in a particular way and ultimately, the allocation of accommodation is determined by Birmingham City Council. This constituent’s case is extreme, and I will do whatever I can to support and advocate for my constituents.
“However, the absence of social housing in Birmingham means that my staff and I are seeing cases similar to this on a frequent basis. Without increased funding from central government and accounting for the cost of living crisis, this situation is only going to worsen.”
A Birmingham City Council Spokesperson told BirminghamLive: “We apologise if the family felt that the room was not up to standard. We have consulted the hotel concerned who have confirmed that the family stayed with them but they received no complaints during their stay.”
On the issue of families being moved to other hotels during the games, a spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “In the case of when a hotel is fully booked, we have agreed with them to move families to alternative hotels for the duration of the Games. We have ensured that they are provided with alternative arrangements including additional meals and support.”