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Single mum forced to live in mould-infested home with her 10 children – ‘It’s a nightmare’


Lisa Clarke is a single mum to 12 children and 10 of them currently live with her. Some of the children have special and complex needs. The Blackpool family have described their current situation as a “living nightmare” as they are forced to live in a freezing, mould-infested council home.

Ms Clarke said that their six bedroom home has several leaks and a faulty boiler which means they are cold a lot of the time.

The home has no outdoor area meaning there is no respite for Ms Clarke and her children.  She also says that the sharing of rooms and the use of bunk beds has become unhealthy as so many children in one room can mean something such as an open window can become dangerous. 

Catrionia is currently the oldest at age 18 followed by Mackenzie, 16, Kiania, 14, Lucius aged 12, Jaidan, 10, Princess aged 7, Lachlan, 5, Riley and Corey twins, aged 4, and Malaki who is 15 months.

Ms Clarke also has two grown up children who live away from home but come and help out  with their younger siblings.

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Lisa Clarke

Lisa Clarke and her 10 children have been living in a mould-infested home. (Image: Lisa Clarke)

Youngest Malaki has started having seizures and recently had an 18 minute episode where he had to be hospitalised.

The twins have been diagnosed with autism and have complex needs as well as Lachlan and Jaden who have learning difficulties. 

Princess is partially sighted and is also incontinent and Lucius is autistic and has severe ADD. 

Kiania is autistic and Mackenzie has emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Catrionia has anxiety and is currently unable to work due to childcare commitments.

Lisa Clarke

Lisa said living in the home is ‘unbearable’. (Image: Lisa Clarke)

Ms Clarke has also been diagnosed with autism and has severe asthma. 

The family have lived in the house, owned by My Blackpool Home, since 2018. Ms Clarke has asked the council to be re-housed, but she was told that there are not enough homes large enough for a family of this size. 

Ms Clarke told LancsLive: “I was told there is a shortage of large affordable houses however I have tried to search privately too and there aren’t any.

“It makes me really angry that so many large buildings become available and immediately get turned into flats.

Lisa Clarke

Water dripped onto a bed in one of Ms Clarke’s rooms. (Image: Lisa Clarke)

“I have known families who because they have eight or less members have been re-housed in weeks if they have an issue. 

“I would have to wait years before a few of my children can move out. It’s absolute discrimination, why don’t we matter?

“This isn’t about benefits as I am up to date with my rent and bills, this is about a safe house where we can sleep at night.

“My children have several complex needs and we need a house that meets our needs. We can’t live like this any more.”

Ms Clarke contacted her local MP Scott Benton but felt like the answer was to leave Blackpool in order to re-housed.

Lisa Clarke

Water dripping from the ceiling. (Image: Lisa Clarke)

Mr Benton told LancsLive: “My office contacted Housing Options at Blackpool council on behalf of Ms Clarke.

“Unfortunately, Ms Clarke has not yet been placed on a priority list yet due to a backlog caused by assessing cases. We also raised her concerns regarding a leak with Housing Options.

“They offered to contact the landlord, My Blackpool Home, who are also council run to remedy this problem. Sadly, Ms Clarke has refused their help and is unwilling to engage with them.

“Housing Options have advised that there is a lack of 6+ bedroom houses in Blackpool, private or social. At no point did my office suggest moving out of Blackpool.

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“I’m sure you will understand that 11 bedroom houses are not easy to come by and that the council quite rightly can’t be expected to hold such large properties in their social housing stock. Ultimately it is taxpayers money and they must act proportionately.”

A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “Ms Clarke has made the council aware of her current housing difficulties, and has applied for re-housing. 

“Due to the limited numbers of social housing properties available, including larger homes , assistance has been offered with seeking accommodation in the private rented sector. 

“Ms Clarke’s landlord was previously unaware of the leaks, but following inspection has provided assurance that these will remedied as quickly as possible.”

Additional reporting by Catherine Mackinlay.

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