A FAMILY-OF-EIGHT are homeless after being evicted by the borough council for failing to pay their rent.
Nicola Wright, who lived in Pembridge Gardens with her partner Mark Roberts and her six children, says she doesn’t know where to turn and feels they’ve been kicked while they’re down.
She says they have only recently started receiving income support with Mr Roberts being out of work over the last few months.
Miss Wright also claims they are entitled to backdated pay which would enable them to start paying off their rent arrears.
Since being evicted, she and her family have been staying with various relatives and friends.
She says she has even been forced to sleep in a tent in the garden.
Miss Wright, who had lived at the property for 18 years, has a 10-week old baby and children aged 20-months, three, 13, 15 and 19. She also has an older daughter who had already left home.
She said: “We couldn’t pay the rent and tried our best to come to an arrangement but we were evicted.
“We were given 15 minutes to get our belongings out before the house was boarded up.
“Why kick someone while they are already down? I don’t know what to do. We’re homeless.
“My partner has always worked, we’ve always been self-sufficient. We started claiming income support about eight weeks ago but I’ve been told it will be backdated as we should have been claiming it before.”
Rob Selby, director of housing and development services at the borough council, said: “Miss Wright was evicted from her council tenancy on August 19 following a last minute appeal from her to the court to suspend eviction made earlier that day.
“The arrears currently amount to over £2,600 and date back to 2003. During this time there have been a total of five court hearings.
“As with all cases of rent arrears the council has tried to work closely with Miss Wright but to no avail.
“There is a long history of irregular payment and broken promises. Sadly, Miss Wright has shown no commitment to reducing her arrears, thereby maintaining her home.
“The council cannot sustain this level of arrears but remains committed to helping anyone in difficulty. However, that has to be a two-way process.”