A homeless single mum and her four-year-old son have been stuck in a cramped hostel bedroom for almost a year.
Olivia McClelland, 22, has been bidding on council houses for more than 18 months without luck because she was always in a queue behind 200 to 3,000 people deemed a higher priority.
The Birmingham mum and son Noah have spent both national coronavirus lockdowns living in a 3x4ft room in a homeless family shelter and they are desperate to move into a home of their own with more space.
They have been given hope that they may be in their own place in time for Christmas, which would be the “best present”, after Olivia was given higher priority and she received the phone call she had been waiting for, BirminghamLive reports.
Olivia, from Acocks Green, said: “I got a call from a woman at the council to say I’d been shortlisted and I literally screamed down the phone.
“I couldn’t believe it. I just went whaaa! It was such a relief. It’s been a nightmare.
“I’d seen my bid making it to single figures and had my hopes raised and dashed. I’d been really close to getting a place in Sutton Coldfield recently but at the last minute it was given to someone else.
“I had realised there was no point in looking at the numbers online so it was a really nice surprise when I got my phone call.”
She is hoping to move into the two-bedroom flat in Kings Heath this month.
Olivia added: “Kings Heath is a nice place, I hope the flat is nice too but I’ll make it my own, whatever, I’m looking forward to doing that.
“I told Noah we’d got a place but he doesn’t really understand. I don’t think he’ll realise what’s going on until we move out of here and don’t come back.
“It’s going to make such a difference to him. He’s been such a good boy, it’s been hard living in a hostel.”
Olivia has been on the housing register awaiting a council property since 2017. Moving in with her dad made her a very low priority, and she and Noah became homeless when he moved house in January.
The mum and son moved into a B&B and then a homeless family shelter, where they have been ever since.
Olivia said:”When we first moved into the B&B I was scared, I didn’t know what was going to happen.
“On the first night there was a couple arguing outside my door and boy racers going up and down the road, I’d never heard anything like it.
“Then we were told we were moving into a homeless family shelter so I carried everything we owned on the bus, my lamp, my TV, pillows and all my bits and bobs. How the pram wasn’t broken, I don’t know.”
She added: “I just hope there’s not another lockdown to slow everything down. I really hope the move happens soon, it will be amazing if we can be in there before Christmas.
“I’m number one so it means it’s mine, I just haven’t seen it yet. It means we’re finally getting out of the hostel, we’ve been so desperate to do that. I’m hoping we might be in before Christmas, that would be the best Christmas present.
“Noah will be able to stay at the same nursery. I’ve done a route plan and it’ll take about the same time to get there as it will from here. But when it comes to looking for a school for next September, we’ll have more choice which will be good.”
Olivia never imagined she would end up homeless.