Mum's 'desperate' fundraiser as 15 families face eviction in Stonebridge
- Credit: Claudia Hayles
A "desperate" NHS worker has launched a mortgage fundraiser as she and all her neighbours face mass eviction from their homes in Stonebridge.
Claudia Hayles' family is one of 15 households facing eviction from Prospect House in May after receiving notice in November.
Eighteen adults and 18 children and babies currently live in the block and have no idea where they are going next.
According to council documents, the flats are let to homeless families on a five-year lease arrangement managed by Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association (SBHA).
However, they face eviction because the buildings' owner is now redeveloping the site - Brent Council approved a planning application in 2019 to build four additional floors containing a further 28 self-contained flats.
SBHA said all tenants had been referred back to Brent Council.
District nurse Claudia, who has a 15-year-old daughter and a son aged nine, said it is a "desperate situation": "Brent Council told us to look for private accommodation and they will pay the deposit but I work for the NHS full time and I just don't earn enough to meet the criteria for renting a private property."
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Claudia said that she cannot bid for a council or housing association property under Brent's system as "we were all taken off the bidding system the day we accepted the property".
Claudia currently pays £1,308 a month for her two-bed flat and receives a housing benefit 'top up' as she says many of the other families do.
She has had no luck with estate agents; those she has spoken to say she needs a guarantor: "I was shocked when I initially started looking [to buy a property]. They asked me what my annual income was and said I don't qualify unless I have savings of £20,000 or £30,000 to buy a property and I will need two guarantors and I don't know anybody."
She has launched a GoFundMe page to try and raise the deposit needed, having been on Brent's housing register since 2013 and moved twice in that time.
"It's not an isolated situation," she said. "A lot of people are going through this and are not brave enough to come forward. It's a mother's cry for help."
Darren Reynolds, SBHG’s director for resident experience, said: “We know this is worrying and, as a social landlord, we never want people to be worried about where they live.
"We lease Prospect House from a private landlord who, after five years, does not want to renew the lease.
"This unfortunately means we needed to start a legal process to hand back their building.
"Even after the six-month notice expires in May, there will be further legal steps which could take many months to complete so there is no risk of imminent eviction."
He said SBHA is working with Brent Council on the situation.
"We have contacted Ms Hayles to let her know about key worker accommodation for which she could be eligible."
A Brent spokesperson said: “As households who moved to a privately rented home in Prospect House are no longer homeless, they don’t have priority to bid for other properties.
"We’re very keen to work with any household in difficulty and will do all we can to help.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/nhs-nurse-in-desperate-need