A COUPLE with three children are desperate to move out of their “overcrowded” one bedroom flat, writes Meganne Gerbeaut.

Siddig Ali Ishaq and his wife Widad want Brighton and Hove City Council to find them a bigger home as they say the damp conditions are causing health problems for them and their three daughters.

The couple have lived in Poynings Drive in Hangleton since 2005, but their problems started when their first child, three-year-old Maryam, was born.

And it has got worse since their second and third daughters were born. The youngest, Hibba, is now ten months old.

Their father said all three children have developed skin and respiratory problems and the parents suffer from headaches.

The 56-year-old said: “The ten-month old has fallen ill, she is scratching so much she bleeds at night.

“When we leave the house to stay with friends we feel much better, but the scratching, breathing problems and headaches come back when we return.”

Ten-month old Hibba sleeps with her mother Widad, 29, in the living room, while Maryam, three, Youssra, two, and Siddig occupy the bedroom.

Mr Ishaq said health inspectors visited the property two years ago and sterilised the affected areas, but the problem has yet to be solved, with the damp quickly returning.

He said: “A health visitor has written letters in the past to the council, just last month she wrote another letter.” He showed The Argus a letter from the NHS dated February 19.

The family receives £176.05 per week from income support and £48.10 from child benefit per week.

Mr Ishaq said rent is £76 per week which he gets in full from housing benefit so the income support and child benefit does not go towards rent, but he said he does have to pay council tax.

Currently the couple are unemployed, after Mr Ishaq suffered from a back injury in 2004 and Widad stays at home to look after the children.

According to the council tax valuation list the family pay about £100 per month in council tax.

Despite actively looking, the Ishaq family have had no luck in finding a three-bedroom house within the Hangleton and Hove area while they try to resolve the problems with their health.

Hangleton and Knoll city councillor Dawn Barnett visited the family last week.

She said: “They are very overcrowded but they just have to keep bidding, and bid further afield, they have got to bid everywhere in Brighton and Hove.

“They have also got to consider a three-bedroom flat.

“We cannot give him a property that we have not got, it would be quicker if he bids out of this area because we haven’t got many three bedroom properties, an awful lot in Hangleton and Knoll are mainly two bedrooms.

“I have been told if they keep on bidding it shouldn’t be too much longer until they get somewhere.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “We are very aware that Mr Ishaq, his partner and their three young daughters share a one-bedroom flat.

“They have not so far been successful in bidding for a property on the scheme and we very much hope they are successful soon.

“There is an acute shortage of affordable accommodation in the city, and this is particularly true of family-sized properties.”