Newham mums forced into homelessness and poor accommodation because of housing crisis
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 April 2016
The Recorder has spoken to two women who have battled to secure a stable home environment for their children as a result of the housing crisis in Newham.
Single mum-of-three Elina, 38, was forced into living in a single cramped room in Welwyn Garden City in June 2014 after she fled an abusive relationship and was left homeless.
Elina, whose children are aged eight, five, and three, fought to leave the property Newham Council placed her in because her family were plagued by drug-dealing, parties and squalid living conditions.
She said: “The doors were so badly fitted that smoke and cold air was coming in, and there was mould everywhere.
“My sleep was troubled and my youngest daughter was traumatised, jumping up every time someone knocked.
“If you say you know how we live here, think again, because I did and I saw all the others near me, living even worse – these were kennels for dogs, poorly run.”
Elena was subsequently offered accommodation in Birmingham, before being rehoused in Basildon, Essex one month ago.
A spokeswoman for Newham Council said the 15 households placed in Boundary House were only meant to be there temporarily.
She said residents would have been moved into affordable private sector housing in an area of their choice but “due to the government’s welfare reforms and a shortage of affordable properties, this became increasingly difficult”.
The council has since stopped using the accommodation “due to the shortage of affordable move-on accommodation in that area”.
Emily, 27, was evicted from her East Ham home last Friday along with her partner and four children aged three, five, seven and 10.
The Plaistow-born mum, who has moved seven times in 10 years, was told she could expect to move “anywhere within the UK” before having to vacate the private landlord property on Park Avenue.
She was offered temporary accommodation at Stratford’s Brimstone House, known as the Focus E15 hostel, but refused it after her family were told they would have to separate into two rooms on different floors.
She said: “One of my friends is in there and she said there is open drug-dealing in the hallways.”
Emily has since received a letter, seen by the Recorder, which states that Newham Council is “discharging our duty to provide interim accommodation pending inquiries because you have refused this suitable offer”.
Emily, who says her children have suffered health problems as a result of living in mouldy and mice-infested properties, has now moved into her mum’s house.
She said: “I am stressed out because as a parent you should be able to tell your children where you are going.
“It’s unfair that an area where we were all born and raised has done this to us and now we will have to struggle in another private property if we can even find the money for the rent and deposit.
Newham Council said it was “currently looking into” Emily’s case to review other options.
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