Single mum occupies former Stratford flat to protest against eviction

Jane Wood

Jane Wood - Credit: Archant

A single mum suffering from bipolar disorder occupied her former flat and threw a party over the weekend to protest against the council’s decision to evict her from her home of 22 years.

Jane Wood, 45, was evicted from her flat in Kerrison Road, Stratford, on March 24 because she owed the council £3,569 in rent arrears.

The mum-of-one fell into debt over a five-month period after losing her benefits following a health review. Newham Council claims it offered her help with rent arrears.

However, Jane said a family member offered to pay the debt off in full on the day of her eviction but “the council said it was too late”.

She added: “I think it is disgusting. They cut off my benefits after a 10-minute analysis. I have depression and bipolar so sometimes I can be on a high, whilst others I’ll be really low.

“It’s heartbreaking because I have a 14-year-old daughter and I don’t want to put her through this.”

Jane occupied her former flat on Saturday with the help of campaign group Focus E15 but Newham Council “took back the illegally occupied council property” on Monday afternoon when she left the property to attend a meeting with the council.

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A statement from Newham Council reads: “The council made many attempts to help with her rent arrears since she first started having problems, but she has not fully engaged with these offers of assistance.

“Officers are now working closely with the tenant to resolve her current financial and housing situation and has provided her with temporary accommodation until a permanent solution can be found.”

When officers attended Jane’s former home on Monday, Jasmine Stone, 20, a member of the Focus E15 campaign group, was arrested on suspicion of squatting.

She has since been bailed pending further inquiries to a date in May.