17th Oct, 2017

Family fears they could be made homeless due to 'unfair' council housing policy

Evesham Editorial 11th Aug, 2017 Updated: 11th Aug, 2017

AN ‘EMOTIONALLY drained’ Evesham mum fears she and her two sons will soon be homeless because of an ‘unfair’ council policy on applying for properties.

Kerri Walling and her sons Niall,14, and 7-year-old son Cain moved back to the UK last month after she split with her husband who serves in the army.

She was given 93 days by the MoD to leave the family quarters at the British Army base in Germany and saw her belongings packed into a lorry.

Now back on British soil, Kerri told the Observer she had been treated ‘like an immigrant’ after she was forced to privately rent because she was unable to apply for a three bedroom council house.

Wychavon District Council’s ‘Home Choice Plus’ policy states families with two children of the same sex and who are under 16 can share a room.

As a result Kerri can only bid on two bedroom properties which she said would be ‘unfair’ on her two sons due to the seven year age gap between them.

The family are now living in a £800 a month private rental property in Honeybourne but Kerri fears she could be made homeless at the end of the month as her housing benefit claim has not yet been approved.

“The housing benefit claim at the moment is with an assessor and has been since June 30,” she said.

“I had no choice but to pay the £800 this month and it’s left me with not a lot of money.

“It’s just lucky I saved my wages from my job in Germany that I could pay this month’s rent. This month is done but it’s not long until September and I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“Once you leave army quarters they pay for all the removals of your furniture. They don’t care where you go, you just have to leave.

“Once you’ve split up with a soldier you’re not their problem anymore.

The distraught mum has also discovered she cannot claim Jobseekers Allowance because she hasn’t been living in the country for at least three months.

“I just feel totally stressed out. I’m just going to bed early every night just to get through the next day.

“I feel stressed, angry and like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. You can’t get any help, no one will help you.

“It’s not like it’s a situation I’ve put myself in. I come from this town. I hate asking the Government for money and signing on.”

In response Gay Lloyd, Principal Housing Officer at Wychavon District Council, said the council understood Kerri’s situation and had explained the options available to the family.

“These would include accessing affordable housing via the Housing Register (Home Choice Plus) and renting in the private sector.

“Affordable housing is in high demand in the district, which is why the allocations policy has to be applied in a fair and consistent way when assessing and prioritising housing applications.

“In accessing the privately-rented sector we advise applicants to ensure that any home is affordable before entering into an agreement with a landlord.

“If Mrs Walling is experiencing difficulties we would ask that she contacts us to explore any advice or support we can offer.”

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