Gun mum denied move
THE mother of a schoolboy who claims he was forced by a gang into hiding a gun has slammed housing chiefs for leaving her family at their mercy. The 42-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Brent Council has ignored her pleas to be re-h
THE mother of a schoolboy who claims he was forced by a gang into hiding a gun has slammed housing chiefs for leaving her family at their mercy.
The 42-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Brent Council has ignored her pleas to be re-housed even though she explained that her family's lives are at risk if she remains in the borough.
The mother-of-three's nightmare began in February this year when the weapon and ammunition was discovered in the bedroom her 15-year-old son shared with his younger sibling during a police raid.
The family's home on a sprawling estate in the borough had been targeted after her son was suspected of handling stolen goods.
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She said: "Words can't express how I felt when they found the gun.
"I fainted. I couldn't believe my son would do such a thing."
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According to her son he was forced to stash it by members of a gang who had broken his fingers in a prior fight because he would not co-operate with them.
She said: "They bullied him into doing it because he has no older sibling to stick up for him.
"Now the gang have dubbed us as informers and they are very upset their gun and ammunition are now in the hands of the police."
Following the discovery, the family fled their home in fear of their lives and moved into bed and breakfast accommodation provided by the council.
Since then, she has continued to pay the rent on her former home but has received no offers of a new property despite letters from the police, her MP, her doctor and a charity urging the council to permanently rehouse her.
Her angst has been heightened after her son was released in August from the youth offenders' institute where he served his sentence for possessing the weapon.
She said: "The council have had months to find our family a new home and they have done nothing.
"I fear for my son and my other children's lives. I want a fresh start for my son away from all the criminality in the area."
The mother claims housing chiefs are relying solely on Locata, a scheme where homeseekers bid for available properties in Brent and several neighbouring boroughs, instead of looking at her case on an individual basis.
She said: "They need to look at my case and give me a direct move.
"They have had months to sort this out but instead they have done nothing and left me and my children in limbo."
A Brent Council spokeswoman told the Times they recognise that the family urgently needs to be rehoused and work continues to help them to move.
She added: "The family were awarded the highest priority for rehousing (she is Band A under the Locata scheme), and Brent has supported her wish to move out of the borough by liaising with another borough (which the mother has asked the Times not to identify).
"Under this discretionary arrangement the borough will rehouse one of our households and we will offer a reciprocal letting to one of their households.
"We understand that the other borough offered the family a suitably sized property which they did not accept as it was too far away.
"We would encourage the family to carefully consider any further offers of accommodation we are able to make to her.
"The council can not directly rehouse them in a council tenancy in another borough, which is why we asked one specific borough to assist.