Foster mother and seven kids living in cramped three-bed Hackney house as wait goes on for suitable home

Kumba Jobe and her 7 children, from left back row Tijan, 19, Abdul, 19 and Pa, 18. Front, Kumba, Mar

Kumba Jobe and her 7 children, from left back row Tijan, 19, Abdul, 19 and Pa, 18. Front, Kumba, Marieme, three, Oumou, five, Kumba, 11 and Roheya, 12. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A mother-of-three living in a cramped home with her children and four nieces and nephews she cares for has been waiting for a bigger home for nine years.

Kumba Jobe and her seven children, from left Tijan, 19, Pa 18, Roheya 12, namesake Kumba 11, Abdul 1

Kumba Jobe and her seven children, from left Tijan, 19, Pa 18, Roheya 12, namesake Kumba 11, Abdul 19, Oumou, five, Kumba, and Marieme, three. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Kumba Jobe says her special guardianship order (SGO) to bring up her sister’s children has saved Hackney Council “millions of pounds” and the least it could do is provide the family with a suitable house.

“There’s seven children in a three-bed place,” said Kumba, who works for race equality charity Olmec. “They are supposed to help me to secure proper accommodation.”

The family are currently living in a North London Muslim Housing Association property in Albion Drive off Queensbridge Road. Kumba did turn down one five-bed property in 2015, which she says had no flooring and an unsafe fire escape.

The town hall said she has no existing housing application meaning she’s not on the list, although Kumba says she is in the process of reapplying, which she has to do every year. Recently she’s been pinning her hopes on exchange service Home Swapper.

Kumba Jobe and her 7 children, from left back row Tijan, 19, Abdul, 19 and Pa, 18. Front, Kumba, Mar

Kumba Jobe and her 7 children, from left back row Tijan, 19, Abdul, 19 and Pa, 18. Front, Kumba, Marieme, three, Oumou, five, Kumba, 11 and Roheya, 12. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant


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But she’s had no luck there either. One woman she was due to swap with pulled out at the last minute because her son told her he couldn’t live in the E8 postcode for safety reasons.

The children: Tijan, 19, Abdul, 19, Pa, 18, Roheya 12, Kumba 11, Oumoi, five and Marieme, three, are currently living three to a room, with Marieme still in a cot in Kumba’s bedroom.

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“I’ve saved the council millions and millions of pounds [in care costs],” said Kumba. “You’d think they could give me a suitable place. They can’t even have play dates. I do appreciate there’s a housing shortage but it’s really stressful and it’s affecting my health and the children’s lives.”

Housing needs chief Cllr Rebecca Rennison said: “We always take housing into account when making recommendations to a court around SGOs.

“We have provided Ms Jobe with financial assistance, advocated a housing transfer through her housing association and offered a direct opportunity to move to larger home which the family unfortunately felt was not suitable for their needs.

“But Hackney is facing an acute housing crisis and we have made it clear to Ms Jobe throughout the challenge of finding suitable homes for large families. We are contacting Ms Jobe to discuss her circumstances and how we can help.”

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