Stevenage mum and eight-year-old kept in tiny hostel room for three months
PUBLISHED: 07:01 03 October 2018
A Stevenage mum and her eight-year-old son have been living in a cramped hostel room for three months as part of a borough council interim housing plan.
The mum, who asked not to be identified, told the Comet she had rented in Stevenage with a social worker’s help until a change to her immigration status saw her passed to the borough council – which put her and her son into this interim accommodation.
She said she had regularised her status in this country, but that the borough council is yet to give her any indication when she and her son might be helped into somewhere permanent to live.
She and her son, who is about to turn nine, have been living in this single room since July 6.
Asked how the ordeal was affecting her son, she told this paper: “All I know is he doesn’t want to come home after school.”
The woman, who is originally from Nigeria, has lived in Stevenage since moving from another Hertfordshire town some years ago following an abusive relationship.
She said she was assisted by social services at first because she lacked leave to remain in the UK, but that she was passed to the borough council with her son after immigration authorities gave her permission to stay.
The tiny room in which she now lives with her son contains two beds pushed together, and a fridge with a microwave on top. The rest of their possessions are piled up, strewn or hung around the remainder of the room.
They lack their own bathroom or toilet and share communal facilities with four other people.
“Living in that condition is very depressing with a little boy – getting dressed in front of your son,” the mum told the Comet.
“He is worried to come to the room. He said the room is too boring.”
She also expressed concerns about the possible consequences of her son having to use the toilet under these conditions.
The woman said she had just secured a job in the care sector. Asked how it would feel to get out of this situation, she said: “I will be so happy, and my son too. He cannot wait for it to happen.”
Councillor Jeanette Thomas, who is responsible for housing at the borough council, confirmed that the mother and her son had been in interim council accommodation since July 6.
She said: “Stevenage Borough Council has a duty to provide interim accommodation while enquiries into her homelessness continue and alterative accommodation is found.”