Royston single mum in homeless accommodation pleads with council to let her move into flat near hometown as deadline day draws close
PUBLISHED: 08:32 14 January 2016
A single mum living in emergency accommodation for the homeless in Royston has described the 'massive stress' of being told her only chance of putting a permanent roof over her head is to move to a village 22 miles away.
Lauren Hodgson moved into Ridgeways with her three-year-old daughter Bella-Rose in May 2014 – having spent a short time at her parents – as her relationship with her former partner broke down.
The self-employed hairdresser was offered social housing in Codicote by North Herts District Council in November, but says she can’t afford the petrol to travel from there to Royston and Cambourne, where her clients are based.
The 28-year-old would also have to travel for miles to get to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where Bella-Rose has regular appointments because of her poor eyesight and regular chest infections.
Lauren has until Tuesday to appeal North Herts District Council’s decision, and will be delivered the final verdict at the end of the month.
She said: “They are saying it is a reasonable offer, I’m saying it’s not.
“If they reject my request to be housed elsewhere then I will have to phone up social services to house me. Would they take my daughter from me?”
The stress of the situation has had an impact on Lauren’s mental health.
She said: “I’m back on antidepressants, it’s been a massive stress. I can’t remember the last time I had a proper night’s sleep.
“My mum and dad live in Royston, my child goes to Addenbrooke’s Hospital every four weeks. I wouldn’t be able to deal with the travel cost.”
Councillor Bernard Lovewell, responsible for housing at the district council, said: “There is a huge waiting list for social housing. People who are entitled to the council’s help are invited to bid for their own properties, but if the applicant hasn’t made a successful bid for a property in a certain time scale, the council steps in and bids for suitable accommodation located anywhere in the district on the applicant’s behalf.
“If applicants are not happy with offers of social housing made on their behalf, they have the right to request a review of suitability and/or the council’s decision to end its homelessness duty and can appeal any decision made.”