Upton Park family stripped of housing priority after mum dies aged 29

PUBLISHED: 13:21 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:21 13 February 2017

Bilal Ahmad and his children in their one bedroom flat

Bilal Ahmad and his children in their one bedroom flat


Council chiefs have stripped a grieving father-of-two of emergency status for housing after his seriously ill wife died of pneumonia.

A wedding picture of Sobia Bilal, who died at the age of 29A wedding picture of Sobia Bilal, who died at the age of 29

Bilal Ahmad is being forced to continue leaving in the overcrowded one-bedroom home he shares with his 11-year-old-son Muhammad Mujtabaa and daughter, Bakhtawar, eight, in Queen’s Terrace, Upton Park, following the council’s decision.

The widow, who has no other family, contacted the council after his wife Sobia fell into a coma after she contracted meningitis following an operation in 2009.

The family were given top priority for housing after Sobia showed signs of improvement in 2012 which meant she could come home.

However, she sadly deteriorated and died from pneumonia in January 2013 at the age of 29.

Mr Ahmad told the Recorder the decision by the council has left him with no hope as his children are suffering psychologically due to the loss of their mother.

He said: “I can’t see a future with any hope.

“My children call this house the haunted house – they are very scared of it.”

At present, the family sleep together in the living room which they also use for eating, recreation, study and prayer.

The bedroom is predominantly used for storage and children, who have asthma, have to sleep on mattresses on the floor as the bed is broken.

Mr Ahmad has been advised by his doctor and the children’s school that they should move properties.

Muhammad said he and his sister sometimes sees ‘black shadows’.

“It is really scary, there are other things like demons coming from the ceiling,” he said.

“Sometimes we start crying.”

A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “We understand this is a difficult situation for Mr Ahmad and his children.

“Unfortunately, there are hundreds of families experiencing similar issues and family sized properties are in short supply.

“With one of the largest housing waiting lists in the country, we have a high demand for the very limited number of properties which become available every year.

She added that Mr Ahmad is eligible to bid for both two-and three-bedroom properties but the council’s allocation policy currently priorities individuals in employment, members of the armed forces, foster carers and full time carers.

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