News Walthamstow

Walthamstow family of four slept in car after council eviction

The family of four were turned out of their temporary accommodation after refusing to move to Derby
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

Walthamstow mum Izebela
Walthamstow mum Izebela

A Walthamstow family-of-four were forced to sleep in a car after they were evicted by Waltham Forest Council for refusing to move 140 miles away.

Two weeks ago, Izebela Kikosicka, 36, and her three young children were evicted from their temporary accommodation after refusing the council’s offer of a home in Derby.

Within thirty minutes, she says the locks were changed at the Bexley flat the council had housed her in since she first became homeless in 2018. 

Izebela says she and her children slept in a friend’s car that night, on 16th November, before a mother at her children’s school invited them to stay.

Read more: Hundreds told: ‘Out of London or onto the streets’

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “[The car] was basically the only option I had at the time, I didn’t really even share my problems with people because it was upsetting and I was ashamed to be going through this sort of thing.

“The worst thing is the pain for my children. My daughter keeps crying, she’s only five years old, it’s hard to explain to a child how this has happened, I don’t understand how someone can just tell you to leave.”

After appealing the decision to force them out, the family were placed in hostels in east London for two weeks but, when the appeal failed, they were made homeless again on 30th November.

For the last two nights, the family have been staying at friends’ houses near their former home in Bexley, where the children are still at school and Izebela works as a cleaner.

She said: “Housing just do what they want – it’s humiliating the way we’re being treated. The temporary accommodation is empty and my stuff is there in Bexley.

“Christmas is around the corner, my five-year-old is crying everyday. I don’t know what to do with myself. I just feel numb. I don’t have control of my life.”

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Read more: Council invested £95million in own housing developer

Izabela, who goes to a midwifery course once a week, said she moved to Walthamstow in 2012 when she separated from her children’s father.

She refused the recent offer of a two-year tenancy in Derby because of her children’s family in Tottenham and her own network of friends in London.

Waltham Forest Council, however, told Izebela they have “discharged their housing duty” towards her through the offer, while an attempt to turn to Bexley Council for help saw them deny any responsibility.

An email sent from Bexley Council on 22nd November told her “you have no local connection with this local authority”, despite her children attending school there since 2018. The assessment officer added: “I am satisfied no one will be at risk.”

Councillor Louise Mitchell, cabinet member for housing and homelessness prevention, said she cannot comment on Izebela’s case but understands “it is a very difficult time” for people at risk of losing their home.

She added: “For families on lower incomes, the Government’s benefits cap policy, alongside the rising cost of housing in London, means they cannot afford private rented sector costs in the in the capital.

“We must ensure that any offer of accommodation we make is affordable and that households have enough left over for everyday items such as food and children’s essentials.

“We continue to work hard to deliver more decent, long-term housing options for residents that will provide settled, stable accommodation where families can thrive.

“There is currently a total of 1,031 homes for social rent either being built or that have planning permission in the borough and we have reduced the number of households placed in temporary accommodation, where they do not have long-term stability, by 30 per cent over the last two years.

“With over 10,000 families and individuals on our housing waiting list, we know that increasing the housing supply is the only way we can begin to tackle the housing crisis that causes hardship for so many.”

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