A mum living in a mould-infested flat has voiced fears over her toddler’s life because she keeps being hospitalised with severe asthma.
Aimee James, 18, said her 20-month-old daughter has struggled with the lung condition since birth, but fears she has deteriorated since the damp appeared at their flat in Bridgend, Wales.
The pair are sleeping on a sofa in their living room because the mould has spread into two bedrooms, ruining pieces of furniture, clothing and toys.
Aimee is now calling for urgent action from the Valleys to Coast (V2C) housing association after her daughter was admitted to the Princess of Wales Hospital four times.
The single mum told WalesOnline : “I’m suffering really badly with my mental health. I’m 18 years old — I shouldn’t have to be dealing with this.
“I just want a happy life with my daughter. I shouldn’t have to worry that my daughter is going to die.”
She said the recent case of Awaab Ishak, a two-year-old who died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould, has left her fearing for her own child’s life.
Aimee added: “Any little thing affects her chest and she can’t cope. She panics because they put an oxygen mask over her face when her levels are low. She has also had a tube in her nose.”
Their GP has written to the housing association, saying there is a “significant damp problem” and asked to consider moving them to a “more appropriate” home.
The child is “coughing a lot” and has developed “very itchy skin”, added the doctor.
Aimee, who also has asthma, noticed the damp problem about two months ago – roughly half a year after moving in – and first complained to Bridgend Council, which told her to contact V2C.
The housing association, which manages over 6,000 homes in the town, said it recorded a mould complaint on November 11 and scheduled an inspection for December 2, after which it would carry out any necessary work.
Aimee said: “When we first moved into the flat, I noticed the rubber seal on the windows had come off. They let in a breeze even when they’re shut, but you also can’t open most of them.
“The floors were cemented and there was no carpet on them. I couldn’t afford a bedroom carpet so I covered the floor with rugs.
“After a few months, I moved the bedroom drawers and noticed there was a green mould underneath. I started moving furniture and noticed there was more mould.
“It was black on certain things. Since then it’s just got worse.”
The mum is struggling to replace items destroyed by the mould, including a £240 bed and £170 pushchair, as she has hardly any funds left after paying her utility bills each month.
She said: “We can’t go out and buy new furniture. I’m on a £55-a-week hairdressing apprenticeship and getting about £240 a month in government benefits.
“There’s hardly any money left after the gas and electric and rent. For the last three weeks, we’ve been sleeping cwtched up on the sofa because the damp hasn’t affected the living room, that I know of.
“But the dodgy windows let in a breeze and we can’t afford heating. Other parents I know have got their child in a routine where they go to bed in their bedroom and mummy’s bedroom is next door.
“She hasn’t been able to have any of that. She doesn’t properly know what a bedroom is.
“She is a happy kid and barely ever cries unless she’s seriously unwell. When I say she can’t go in her bedroom she doesn’t scream, she just plays with the few toys she’s got in the living room.
“I just want my daughter to have normality. My GP told me, ‘I don’t advise anyone with asthma to stay there.’ I saw the stories about the two-year-old boy who died, and my little girl is not even two yet.”
The mum believes V2C should put her and her daughter in temporary accommodation until the flat is safe.
A spokeswoman for the housing association said on December 1: “We received a report from Miss James regarding mould in her flat on November 11, and as per our usual procedures a survey was booked.
“This is taking place on Friday, December 2, following which we’ll take any remedial actions required.
“We remain in contact with Miss James and have advised her regarding the separate issue of her application for transfer.”
A council spokesman added: “The householder has contacted the council regarding a complaint of mould within her flat, and we have advised her to speak to V2C as her registered social landlord.
“Following this, if she still feels that the matter has not been resolved, we will make a referral to the Shared Regulatory Service and will ask environmental health officers to look into the issue.”