I’m a single mum on benefits living in tiny flat with FOUR kids under 6 – I’m forced to sleep on uncomfortable sofa

A SINGLE mum on benefits is forced to sleep on the sofa every night in a tiny flat with her four kids.

Divine Doti, 29, was moved into the one-bed emergency accommodation in 2020 by Haringey Council in North London.

Divine Doti is struggling to live in a one-bed flat with her four kids


Divine Doti is struggling to live in a one-bed flat with her four kidsCredit: Peter Jordan
The single mum, who is recovering from a C-section, said she is forced to sleep on the sofa every night


The single mum, who is recovering from a C-section, said she is forced to sleep on the sofa every nightCredit: Peter Jordan

She was originally housed there with her two eldest children – a set of twins – who are now five.

The desperate mum was added to the housing list but then fell unexpectedly pregnant for a second time last year – again with twins.

While almost six months pregnant, Divine asked the council if she could be moved into a larger flat and was given a housing assessment.

She claims she was then told once she’s given birth a more suitable property would be made available, and that she is eligible for a three-bedroom house.

However, after her two youngest were born in August she said she’s been told to be “patient” and to bid for homes along with others in the same situation.

Since November, Divine has been sleeping on the sofa “every single night” because of cramped conditions.

She told The Sun: “There’s no space in the bedroom for all of us to sleep in.

“We all sleep in the living room. My older two sleep on mattresses on the floor. The babies sleep in their own bassinets.

“It’s not fair that I’m still recovering from my C-section, I’m still in pain and I’m sofa surfing, every single night. Can you imagine how uncomfortable that is?

“The sofa isn’t even that big, it’s a cheap sofa.

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“I am experiencing pain every single day. It’s affecting my mental health, I’m struggling with depression right now.

“I’m literally stuck. What am I supposed to do? I can’t move my children into bigger beds for their development because there’s no space.”

The mum-of-four claims dozens of her emails and calls have been ignored, with the housing officer assigned to her seemingly having blocked her number.

Divine said they informed her in January that applications for three-bed properties in the area are typically only considered after someone has been on the waiting list for 11 years.

But that smaller two-bedroom properties are also currently unavailable.

The council refutes claims it assured Divine she would be moved to a bigger home once her kids were born – and says it has responded to all of her correspondence.

Divine added: “I feel like I’ve literally been abandoned by the council, they are not doing anything to help at all.

Apply for a council home

YOU can apply for council housing through your local council.

Each council has its own rules. You’ll usually have to join a waiting list and you’re not guaranteed to get a property. Ask your council how long you’re likely to have to wait.

You can apply if you’re 18 or over (some councils let you apply if you’re 16 or over).

You may be able to apply even if you do not live in the area.

Councils decide who gets offered housing based on a ‘points’ or ‘banding’ system.

Points and bands are based on housing need. For example, you’re likely to be offered housing first if you:

  • are homeless
  • live in cramped conditions
  • have a medical condition made worse by your current home

Once you’re high enough on the list, your council will contact you about an available property.

“All my emails are going unanswered, my calls are going straight to voicemail. No one is listening to me.

“I’ve sent them a string of emails since December – email after email after email.

“I just feel like I’ve been left neglected, no one cares.”

Divine said her children’s toy box is even in the living room and she has to tell the older two to be quiet while the babies are sleeping.

“I’m a single mum, I’m trying my best to do everything on my own,” she continued.


“It’s very hard being the sole provider and feeling like you don’t have control over things. I feel like I’m restricting them.”

Divine receives £1,400 a month in benefits, and £140 a month in child support from the children’s father, she claims.

The flat is also fully electric, with Divine spending £300 a month on electricity alone to keep the babies warm.

“If it was just my older children and me, I can at least just layer up but I’ve got newborn babies, they need the warmth,” she said.

“I’m having to have the heating on every single day.”

Divine said her calls don’t even go through at all when she tries to contact the housing officer, adding: “I don’t know if he’s blocked me or what.”

She went on to say: “They’ve told me I can bid for a three-bedroom house, which is great, but then told me I have to be on the waiting list for at least 11 years before I’m eligible for a three-bed.

“Even if I was to bid they wouldn’t look twice at my application because there are people that have been on the list for longer than I have.

“I’ve only been on the list for four years. What’s the point of me bidding if I’m not even going to be looked at, if I’m going to be considered?

“This is something they could told me while I was pregnant. Don’t get my hopes up.

“All they say is to go private. How am I supposed to go private if I’m not working and my children are under one years old?”

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with Divine Doti, who is on the list for a transfer to alternative temporary accommodation.    

“We are doing everything we can to help Divine and other families who are most in need despite limited resources and options available to us at this time – a challenge that is not just facing us but every local authority up and down the country.   

“There is a chronic shortage of family-sized accommodation in the private sector for temporary accommodation because landlords are leaving the market and we have more than 12,000 families on our housing waiting list, as well as a record number of homelessness applications because of the cost-of-living crisis

“As the family live on the Love Lane Estate, they are eligible for one of the 500 brand new council homes that will be built as part of the major regeneration of the estate.

“The family have a high priority housing need, and we will continue to look at all the options for a move to a larger home, including on the estate.”


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