A Wigan woman, who found herself homeless earlier this year has resorted to living in a children’s play house to avoid sleeping on the streets.
For the past six months, the tiny outdoor Wendy House has been home to 27-year-old April Fillingham, who had to move out of her rented accommodation due to financial difficulties.
What should have been a temporary measure has now turned into a half-year-long ordeal which shows no sign of ending.
The small structure - whose dimensions are 5ft by 5ft by 5ft - bears more resemblance to a shed than it does to living quarters.
It provides only the most basic shelter from the elements and is barely large enough for April to climb into.
“I am sleeping on garden furniture,” she said. “It drips rain in through the roof and it’s freezing already.
“I can just about get in and out of it. I am the length of it. I don’t sleep very well, obviously. It’s an ongoing nightmare. Physically and mentally, I can’t take it anymore.”
And April fears for her health as winter approaches and temperatures begin to tumble.
The “house” is located in the back garden of April’s mother, who lives in a small one-bedroomed bungalow in Hindley.
April said that, due to several lifestyle differences, the pair cannot share the property, but that she is allowed to use the property to eat, drink and use the toilet.
April said she has been homeless “on and off” for the past 10 years, moving between sheltered accommodation, squatting, sofa surfing and living in a caravan for several years.
She had been living in a privately-rented house for 18 months, until April this year when she had to leave due to financial troubles.
Her problems first arose in 2009, when she was evicted from her council tenancy in Hindley Green over several complaints.
Despite apologising for her behaviour and pleading to be added back to the council’s housing list, April said she has since faced an arduous struggle with the council’s housing team over getting support to get back on her feet.
“I am constantly ringing up and chasing this up, but they are pushing me from one place to another,” she said.
Wigan Council said it was working with Ms Fillingham to help her find suitable accommodation.
Joanne Willmott, assistant director of provider management and market development said: “We are committed to helping individuals into stable accommodation and working with our partners to ensure people receive the right support.
“We have made an offer of temporary accommodation and are also providing ongoing advice and support whilst we work together to achieve a more permanent and stable tenancy.”