Mum stages sit-in after ten years in B&B

A MOTHER-OF-EIGHT refused to leave a Plaistow housing office in protest at spending more than ten years in bed and breakfast accommodation.

Margaret Erysthee staged the seven-hour sit-in after claiming she was once again told to “come back next week”.

The 40-year-old said Newham Council housing officers had been telling her for three months to attend a housing centre once a week in a bid to find temporary accommodation.

Ms Erysthee currently lives in a B and B outside Newham paid for by the council.

Her children are aged between five and 21 and include six-year-old daughter Diontay, who awaits a liver transplant.

She said the council’s Social Services Department wrote several letters requesting that the family be found a home after ten-and-a-half years in B and B accommodation.

Ms Erysthee said at the centre: “I came here to be put in temporary accommodation.

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“Now I’ve been told I’ll have to wait and it would probably take years to find somewhere for me. They said they do not have anywhere else and cannot transfer us to another borough.”

“I am refusing to leave this office because someone needs to sort my case out. I am going to be here all day.”

Despite her protest, she said the best the staff could offer her was to “come back next week”.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms has been trying to help Ms Erysthee since 2001 and plans to raise her plight with the council’s Acting Chief Executive Kim Bromley-Derry.

Mr Timms’ spokesman said: “It is something that Stephen is concerned about resolving with the utmost importance.”

A council spokesman said: “We are continuing to look for a permanent solution to Ms Erysthee’s housing situation.

“She requires a five-bedroom home that has at least four double bedrooms and one single bedroom.

“The demand for that type of property is very high and there is a shortage of them.’’

The spokesman added: “Ms Erysthee can bid for permanent accommodation through the council’s Choice Based Lettings Scheme using the website, automated phone line and text service.”