A disabled widower and his family of three children living in a one-bedroom flat have been on the housing waiting list for nine years – but his application has been suspended while his dead wife’s remains open.
Anthony White has been told he cannot move from Dhonau House, on the Lonfield Estate in Bermondsey, by town hall chiefs yet because waiting lists have shot up by more than a third, from 10,000 to 13,000, during the pandemic.
His plea comes as new figures show child poverty in South London is worse than almost anywhere else in the country.
Anthony, 49, a driver, has not had a job since an injury which left him with a twisted spine in 2009. His wife Amanda, 31, died in December amid an epileptic fit while sleeping in the same room as one of their children, who was ill.
He has been looking after the kids – Louie, three, Albert, seven, and Maddie, eight, since then.
He sleeps on the bare wooden floor of their sitting room.
Southwark council said the application has until now been in his wife’s name because he was not on the tenancy, and that when the couple first applied, in 2011, they had no children.
He must find £81 a month from his Universal Credit to pay arrears from the three months after her death while the tenancy transfer went through.
“I am at the end of my tether,” said the Millwall fan, who once lived a stone’s throw from The Den.
“Amanda died on December 23 last year – so you can imagine what Christmas was like for the kids. I spent the three months of rent money on them. It has almost been paid off. But I have to keep track of every penny.
“It is hard but I manage it for them. If I buy something for one of them, I will buy for one of the others the next month. I haven’t spent money on myself in two years.
“To be told my application had been terminated but Amanda had a new listing was crazy. It makes no sense.
“If we had been placed in a bigger place this time last year, I do not believe Amanda would have died. I sort of blame myself – if we had had our own bedroom, I might have been able to save her.
“One of my kids went in to get her for breakfast that day and she was cold – there was nothing I could do. The medics said she died around 2am.”
More than half the children in Bermondsey and Old Southwark – the constituency where Anthony lives – live in poverty.
Councillor Leo Pollak, cabinet member for housing, said: “I am so very sorry for Mr White’s loss, these past months most have been incredibly hard for him and his children.
“I hope that we can at least help to ease the ongoing housing issue that he is going through.
“I can confirm that we were supporting his application for succession over the past months, that we have cleared all previous accounts in his late wife’s name and we are working with him to hopefully resolve his housing situation.
“We will support him as much as possible in doing so. I sincerely hope that he finds somewhere comfortable to live with his children for the future.”
Pictured top: Louie, three, Maddie, eight and Albert, seven
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