Mum-of-six with £4 to her name forced to sleep on sofa and eat cereal for dinner

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A mum-of six-has been forced to go without food and sleep on the sofa after a whirlwind year that has left her struggling.

Teeside mum Deborah Mohammed lost her father, who was her support system and cared for two her children, to cancer in May.

She had given up her job at The Range to look after her terminally-ill dad, all while being a full-time mum to six kids.

After his tragic death, Deborah was forced to move her two eldest sons, who lived with their grandad, into her two-bedroom property.

Deborah told Teesside Live: "I've currently got £4 in the bank and no petrol in the car. I get £70 child benefit on Tuesday and that's when I get my food shopping.

"Last night I cooked tea for the kids but I didn't cook myself anything, I had a bowl of cereal because there wasn't enough. I just make myself tea and coffee instead of having food sometimes.

"I won't starve but we are struggling."

The 37-year-old mum and five of her kids, aged 18, 14, 10, five and two, live in a two-bedroom home which she has occupied for five years, while one of her kids lives with his dad.

She said the 18-year-old, who had Asperger syndrome, "needs his own room", so four children sleep in the second bedroom – with one "on a fold-up bed in the middle of the room" – and Deborah on the sofa.

The grieving daughter is now searching for a job and "struggling with the living situation" stating "money's tight".

Deborah said: "Between me and my dad we looked after the kids, and the kids were happy and fine."

However, in January, he was sadly diagnosed with cancer, although the family kept hope as they were told he was "going to be OK".

But just two weeks before he tragically passed away, Deborah's father was admitted to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, with an infection.

Doctors then told Deborah he had a matter of weeks to live and he sadly passed away.

While grieving for her father, Deborah then had to pack up his privately rented home and bring all her children's possessions back to her two-bedroomed property.

"It's crowded in here, can you imagine what it's like," the mum said.

Deborah's eldest son, who is 18-years-old and has Asperger’s, "can't handle" the changes.

She has given up her room and is now sleeping on the sofa to accommodate his needs.

The other four children sleep in the second bedroom, with one on the camp bed.

Deborah has also taken in her dad's six-year-old Staffy, Jack, as the pair were "inseparable".

She added that the two boys, who previously lived with their grandad, also "love" the dog.

Deborah says she has received "no support" and is only entitled to child benefit for two of her children.

The mum is "struggling" with finances stating "more goes out than comes in".

She is currently receiving Universal Credit but after paying for her rent and bills doesn't have much left.

Deborah told how her dad was her "main support" and now "there's only really me that can support myself".

She added that she "doesn't want to live on benefits" and "wants to get back out to work".

The mum has recently applied for jobs in the area but has so far been unsuccessful.

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A spokesman for housing provider North Star said: “Due to Ms Mohammed recent change of circumstances, she has applied for a four bedroomed property.

"Unfortunately, we do not have any houses, of a suitable size, in the areas where Ms Mohammed would like to live.

"We have supported her to register an application for housing using the Choice Based Lettings system.

"This enables her to bid for suitable properties with other landlords.

"She has received priority status due to her level of housing need, and is actively bidding on suitable properties."

  • Family

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