Mum-of-three could end up ‘homeless’ if she refuses council house 150 miles away
A mother-of-three is staring down the barrel of homelessness after being told she must accept an offer of accommodation 150 miles away from her family in East London.
Nadia Zaman, 38, has lived in Walthamstow her whole life but was evicted with her three children under the age of 10 last month after the breakdown of her marriage meant she could no longer afford rental payments, MyLondon reports.
Now, Nadia has been offered permanent accommodation by Waltham Forest Council after weeks of waiting, but it's more than 150 miles away in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
Nadia lost her home in late June and, on the day she was evicted, she was offered a room by the council which contained just a single and double mattress pushed together to serve as a bed for her and her children – aged four, eight and 10 – in an eight-bedroom house shared with single men.
The house also had dead mice lying in traps in the kitchen, while the one she eventually had to accept is an 11-person, four-bedroom house share in nearby Leyton.
In the council's letter to Nadia informing her of the most recent housing offer they explain that Nadia has been offered the Stoke three-bedroom maisonette because she is benefit capped, and this home is 'significantly more affordable' than any three-bedroom property in or near London.
Nadia said the council expect her to move in by Saturday July 24, the council will discharge its duty to her and she will not receive another offer of accommodation if she does not.
She told My London: "How can you expect me to go there on Saturday without even looking at the place? How can you take me and my kids out of London, sending us there without any support network? Pulling my kids out of school?
"It's going to be heartbreaking for my children."
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Nadia has had several discussions with council representatives where she has explained she is willing to take a smaller, more affordable property in order to stay near to her family and support network.
She is also looking for a part time job to supplement her benefits, which she hopes would help her afford a better home in London.
Instead of leaving for Stoke, Nadia is staging another protest – like she did when she was evicted from her family home in June – with members of the community, London Renters Union, the Socialist Party and other groups and charities this weekend.
She said: "I don't want to break my children's hearts and tell them we're being chucked out of London, away from my mum, away from my sister, my family, my community.
"God forbid if anything happened to me or my kids – my mum can't drive, my family can't come all the way there to help us if something happens.
"It's unfair, it's going to affect my kids, especially, mentally and socially. I am very angry."
Cllr Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing at Waltham Forest Council, said that "demand for housing in London far outstrips supply," so people sometimes sometimes have to move further away than their borough.
"Alongside our duty to offer accommodation to those in need, we also have a duty to make sure Council taxpayers’ money is being used in a sustainable and reasonable way," she added, also pointing to the government’s benefits cap policy which makes sure people will continue to be able to afford their accommodation.
She added: "The freeze on the rent that can be paid under the Local Housing Allowance makes it very challenging to find affordable accommodation in London."
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