Six weeks ago, Katherine, who had been living with her parents in Wentworth Way, Sanderstead, presented herself as homeless after falling out with her father. …I wonder what the falling out was about?
Katherine and Jamie were moved to emergency housing in Fitzroy Court, a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) in Crystal Palace.‘Emergency’ there meaning temporary. While she awaited a council house.
Katherine, 27, was told she and her baby son Jamie were being moved – but not to Croydon. Instead, the young mum and her 11-month-old child were being packed off to a hotel in Feltham, 20 miles away on the other side of London.OK, Feltham's no paradise, but compared with Croydon? I'd have thought it was no contest?
When Katherine refused to move because her new home would be too far from her family, the former nursery worker received another letter.
"I am writing to inform you that the council will no longer provide accommodation for you," it said, before citing the Housing Act 1996.
For refusing to move away from Croydon, the council had discharged its responsibility to put a roof over Katherine's head.Beggars, you see, can't be choosers. If you are dependent on the largesse of the State, you go where the State chooses to put you, or forgo such largesse...
"It was made clear that if I refused to move then I wouldn't have any more help from them.
"What sort of choice is that? " she said.The only choice you deserve - Hobsons!
"I was in tears. It was so far away. I don't know anyone in Feltham. I would have been scared to be there with just my baby. I felt like I was being pushed away from my family.
"I'd moved out of the house in Crystal Palace because they told me to. All my stuff was in bags and I was told it was Feltham or nothing."This is the family you've supposedly fallen out with, right? I mean, it helps if you can keep your story straight, I find...
Having rejected the move, Katherine had little choice but to return to her parents' house and back into the situation she had tried to escape.Gosh! Life with Daddy was better than Feltham after all...
Alison Butler, Labour's local spokesman for housing, said: "Croydon has a crisis in terms of the number of people in emergency accommodation but this is against the assurances the council has given that no one will be forced to move away.
"Telling a single mum with a baby to pack her bags before she comes to the meeting had already narrowed her options. But refusing to help if she turned the offer down gave her no choice.
"It's an unacceptable situation and I am deeply concerned that people are being pressured into moving out of Croydon against their will."Well, you put her up then!
There's not a great deal of sympathy in the comments, and this one sums up why:
“Wow these stories make me so angry! You should not be ENTITLED to housing because you have fallen out with a parent (if that is true) and what could be so bad after living at home for 27 years could force you to want to move out now. And why can she not Privately rent and get the Housing people to pay it? Surely if she's a single Mum she would be entitled to some kind of Housing Benefit? I think the whole system needs to be completely changed, really there is no such thing as Council housing as it was intended when created for working class families. Why do these people keep highlighting their stories to the press in the hope of shaming the Council to house them. She should be totally ashamed of herself for thinking she deserves something for doing absolutely nothing but have a child and a row with her Dad.”Amen!