Brent Council tells family with sick child they must move to Twickenham or face homelessness
A single mother-of-three has spoken of her “desperation” at becoming homeless after Brent Council told her to move a three-hour round trip away from a hospital where her seriously ill son receives diabetes treatment.
The woman, 23, has just two weeks before her family has to leave a hostel in Rucklidge Avenue, Harlesden, and find alternative housing after council officers offered to relocate her to Twickenham. The Times has agreed not to publish her name or photo.
The relocation would mean a three-hour round journey from University College Hospital where her one-year-old son requires weekly treatment for type 1 diabetes.
A pharmaceutical sciences graduate, she is currently nursing a 20-week-old baby boy as well as being a night carer for the older child.
And she was shocked when the council refused her request for housing in Brent despite letters from doctors in support of her application.
Speaking to the Brent & Kilburn Times, she said: “I couldn’t believe it when they told me I had made myself intentionally homeless. I can’t move to Twickenham.”
The council “discharged its duty” to the family after the mum refused to move her children to what would be more than a 12-mile journey from UCLH.
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Now she is asking the council to house her family closer to Brent. “Who is going to look after my boys if I have to call the ambulance in the night for my son?" she said.
“I’ve always lived in Brent and I need to be close to my mother in Neasden in case she is admitted to hospital.”
The family were evicted from their privately rented apartment on April 15, just three days after the one-year-old son was taken to hospital for a month of intensive treatment.
The boys' mum said: “I can’t sleep with constant worry and I’m so stressed. I don’t know how I’m going to function.”
If she relocated, she says she would face a journey involving five buses to bring the boy to UCLH for treatment.
His condition requires frequent admission to hospital for emergency regulation of his blood sugar levels and he also needs constant monitoring and insulin via a pump throughout the night.
Living in Twickenham would also mean the family would need to make a similar journey to bring the woman's five-year-old son to his school in Brent.
The family currently shares a room with three beds and a cot with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities but face a desperate search for accommodation after the hostel requested they leave after their housing case was ‘resolved’.
The mum says the use of communal facilities as well as stairways used by residents for urination puts the one-year-old at risk of further infections.
Cllr Margaret McLennan, Lead member for Housing and Development at Brent Council, said: “We work extremely hard to find and secure suitable accommodation for those who need it most. Given the shortage of available homes in Brent and in London, this is not an easy task.
“In this case, we took account of the health needs of the family and were able to offer a three bedroom house which was located within one hour of Brent, but this offer was refused."