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Couple awaiting eviction by Christmas say it’s like ‘being on death row’

3 min read

A family-of-three are terrified they will be homeless for Christmas, describing their impending eviction from temporary housing as "an unbelievable nightmare".

Charmaine and Ian Pope say they haven't eaten or slept properly in weeks, worrying about having nowhere else to go if they lost their home.

The couple says they moved to Surrey last year after a "traumatic event" involving their 10-year-old daughter, and they hoped they would be able to have a "fresh start", SurreyLive reports.

But now Mrs Pope claims waiting to be evicted feels like "being on death row".

She claims she is "absolutely devastated" for her family, especially her "vulnerable" daughter.

Speaking to SurreyLive, she said: "We don't have enough money to buy milk or bread. We don't work, and we've had to have a food bank delivery. It's pushing me to the edge and I do not know how to cope with this anymore.

"We do not know whether we'll have a Christmas. While everyone is getting excited about Christmas, we are worrying about where we're going to live, or whether we'll be able to have one."

The family reportedly approached the council for assistance in June 2020 after fleeing a caravan site due to safeguarding issues involving their daughter.

When the offer of temporary housing was made, Mrs Pope, 51, claims she knew her family would only be able to be there for a short time and they moved later that month.

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The family were then given the option to look at a first floor, two-bedroom flat in Addlestone in August this year.

The mother claims she suffers with anxiety, depression and vertigo, making her "extremely anxious" before the viewing as she didn't know what to expect.

As a former funfair showman, the 51-year-old claimed she "did not understand how the process works" and says she told RBC about this.

The flat was allegedly "in a state" and "unsuitable" due to the pair's health conditions and mobility issues, which forced them to decline the offer and request a review of the suitability of the property.

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Mrs Pope says she was made to feel like she had to make a decision quickly.

She said: "I was crying my eyes out. I thought we would just be coming for a viewing, not to be pressured into making a decision then and there. I cried all the way home on the bus."

The mother reportedly sent additional evidence and documents to the council, as well as request a meeting in person, but claims this was not fulfilled.

Mrs Pope says the process has been "extremely distressing" and that she's had to book counselling appointments.

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A RBC spokesperson said: "The family came to us from another borough, and we found them temporary accommodation whilst working with them to arrange a permanent home.

"We met our obligations under the law to make them an offer of a home which we assessed was suitable for their needs.

"On their request we reviewed the offer and the family's evidence when they did not accept the property, but our decision remained that their arguments were not sufficient to justify a different course of action.

"We have a number of local people waiting for homes and so the property in question has been allocated to another family."

They added: ""A notice to quit the temporary accommodation we provided will be issued to the family shortly. We have advised them that the best option going forward would be to find a privately rented home through a local estate agent or lettings company."

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