Family of four homeless after refusing council house 140 miles away

By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

A family-of-four living in Bexley were forced to sleep in a car after they were evicted by a council for refusing to move 140 miles away.

Two weeks ago, Izabela Kickosecka, 36, and her three young children were evicted from their temporary accommodation after refusing Waltham Forest council’s offer of a home in Derby.

Within thirty minutes, she says the locks were changed at the Bexley flat the council had housed her in since she first became homeless in 2018. 

Izabela says she and her children slept in a friend’s car that night, on November 16, before a mother at her children’s school invited them to stay.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “[The car] was basically the only option I had at the time, I didn’t really even share my problems with people because it was upsetting and I was ashamed to be going through this sort of thing.

“The worst thing is the pain for my children. My daughter keeps crying, she’s only five years old, it’s hard to explain to a child how this has happened, I don’t understand how someone can just tell you to leave.”

After appealing the decision to force them out, the family were placed in hostels in east London for two weeks but, when the appeal failed, they were made homeless again on 30th November.

For the last two nights, the family have been staying at friends’ houses near their former home in Bexley, where the children are still at school and Izabela works as a cleaner.

She said: “Housing just do what they want – it’s humiliating the way we’re being treated. The temporary accommodation is empty and my stuff is there in Bexley.

“Christmas is around the corner, my five-year-old is crying everyday. I don’t know what to do with myself. I just feel numb. I don’t have control of my life.”

Izabela, who goes to a midwifery course once a week, said she moved to Walthamstow in 2012 when she separated from her children’s father.

She refused the recent offer of a two-year tenancy in Derby because of her children’s family in Tottenham and her own network of friends in London.

But Waltham Forest council told Izabela they have “discharged their housing duty” towards her through the offer, while an attempt to turn to Bexley council for help saw them deny any responsibility.

An email sent from Bexley council on November 22 told her “you have no local connection with this local authority”, despite her children attending school there since 2018.

The assessment officer added: “I am satisfied no one will be at risk.”

Councillor Louise Mitchell, cabinet member for housing and homelessness prevention, said she cannot comment on Izabela’s case but understands “it is a very difficult time” for people at risk of losing their home.

She added: “For families on lower incomes, the Government’s benefits cap policy, alongside the rising cost of housing in London, means they cannot afford private rented sector costs in the in the capital.

“We must ensure that any offer of accommodation we make is affordable and that households have enough left over for everyday items such as food and children’s essentials.

“We continue to work hard to deliver more decent, long-term housing options for residents that will provide settled, stable accommodation where families can thrive.

“There is currently a total of 1,031 homes for social rent either being built or that have planning permission in the borough and we have reduced the number of households placed in temporary accommodation, where they do not have long-term stability, by 30 per cent over the last two years.

“With over 10,000 families and individuals on our housing waiting list, we know that increasing the housing supply is the only way we can begin to tackle the housing crisis that causes hardship for so many.”

Pictured top: Izabela, with her son Abel, 10, and daughters Annabella, 5, and Thalia, 13. 

 


 

Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ


Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.

So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.


One thought on “Family of four homeless after refusing council house 140 miles away

  • 7 December 2021 at 20:25
    Permalink

    I give my best wishes to this family and hope everything works out well for them very soon. The children are innocent and the disruption to leave their school and friends could be damaging. The council should be prioritising their security and happiness. And i hope the father especially is not abandoning all responsibility. These children deserve opportunity and happiness. It’s heart breaking to hear about their situation but I know that mum will keep them strong.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *