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Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009
Housing waiting list hits new high

Katie, Chelsea and Finlay
Katie's family has been waiting for a house since 2005

England could be faced with a housing crisis as more and more cash-strapped families join the queue for a council property.

With the economic slump pushing unemployment up to two million, many people can no longer afford their own place.

A record number of families in England are now waiting for a council house with some having to live in cramped conditions.

Katie, who lives in Exeter in Devon, shares one bedroom with her husband Shaun, her four-year-old daughter Chelsea and her two-year-old son Finlay.

You've got no room. You get angry. You argue over silly things
Katie on living in cramped conditions

The kids have a bunk bed in the corner while Katie and her husband share a single bed.

Space is also tight in the rest of the flat and the strain is starting to show.

"You're living on top of each other all the time", says Katie. "You've got no room. You get angry. You argue over silly things."

The family have been on the council waiting list since 2005 - and there are thousands more like them.

The National Housing Federation reckons that because of the recession and the likelihood of more jobs losses, there'll be two million people waiting by 2011.

New houses are being built, but it's proving hard to keep up with demand.

The government says it's taking action to sort out the problem, but that's not much comfort to families like Katie's who face an unknown wait.

"It's going to get worse," she says. "Chelsea's going to be getting a lot older - she's gonna be going to school.

"We can't even do their own parties because there's just no room. I just want the best for them. I just want them to have their own room."

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