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Homeless increase in Brent with one couple refused help because of their dog

PUBLISHED: 17:11 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:11 08 May 2018

Andrea Wilkinson Moseley and husband Darren's  (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

Andrea Wilkinson Moseley and husband Darren's (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

Archant

Feet poke out from a beneath a shack roughly set up outside Brondesbury station. It is the temporary home of a pair of rough sleepers denied a secure roof because of their dog.

Agnes Peyser and Clea Romeo under the bridge between Kilburn and Brondesbury, where homeless people are living (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)Agnes Peyser and Clea Romeo under the bridge between Kilburn and Brondesbury, where homeless people are living (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

Andrea Wilkinson Moseley and her husband Darren Moseley have been camped by the Overground station in Kilburn High Road for three weeks when the Times visits them two weeks ago.

They are just two of a growing number of people who have set up their homes on the street – and neighbours have been crying out for something to be done to help them.

Andrea said: “Not all homeless are the same. We are all different people.

“We are on the streets simply because of our beautiful dog Ross.

Feet peering from rough sleepers home next to Brondesbury Station (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)Feet peering from rough sleepers home next to Brondesbury Station (Picture: Nathalie Raffray)

“Everywhere we went we couldn’t have a pet. The council said: ‘We can get you somewhere right now but not the dog.’ So this is where we are.”

The couple were living in bed & breakfast accommodation in Kensington and Chelsea after the death of Andrea’s mother. They were moved to a B&B in Brent six months ago, though they didn’t know why.

They returned to Kensington daily using the little cash they had to visit their beloved Boxer dog who was being looked after by a friend.

But a month ago their friend was taken ill. The couple asked B&B staff if the dog could stay and the answer was “no”. They asked Brent Council for help but claim they were told: “Get rid of the dog.” Brent has not responded to requests for comment.

Darren, who has rheumatoid arthritis and osteomyelitis, a bone infection, told us: “I said: ‘Before I get rid of my dog I’ll sleep on the street,’ and this is where we are. We had him from eight weeks old. He was our family.”

A passer-by put them in touch with Dogs on the Streets, known as Dots, a charity that supports homeless dogs and their owners.

Andrea said: “Sadly Ross became ill. We found a wonderful charity called Dots and they took him and we found out he had stomach cancer.

“Ross went downhill very fast. It spread to his lungs. Dots were so supportive, better than any council, better than any agency. They came out every day, they still come out.”

Just two days before we visited, on April 24, Ross had died. Dots arranged a funeral, with candles and cushions.

“Dots really understand. It’s hard to move on – I can’t think straight any more. I’m sick of people staring, looking at us all the time, making terrible comments – but not everybody’s like that. Mentally I’m exhausted. How can they expect us to get on in this place? It’s just awful, and driving me insane.”

On April 25, support officers offered them a room in a hub, but they turned it down when told they would have to sleep in separate dormitories. “We are a married couple,” said Darren. “We need to be together right now. If I felt stronger maybe it would be different, but I’m not strong. I hate to say that.”

On Friday, the day after we spoke to them, they were moved to a safe place where they could begin to rebuild their lives. But not all people’s stories are as straightforward as theirs.

Under the bridge between Brondesbury station, in a Conservative held ward, and Kilburn station, in Labour’s Mapesbury ward, there are the belongings of two rough sleepers. Neighbours talk of a female drug addict who also has a patch.

Agnes Peyser and Clea Romeo contacted this newspaper when their tweets to public bodies and organisations made no impact.

Agnes, who lives in Iverson Road, said: “It can’t continue like this. I give them the odd cigarette, a few pounds, but that won’t change anything. I’ve been reporting the problem since April 3 to Streetlink then I tweeted at councillors, the council and the police and never had a response. These people shouldn’t be homeless in the first place. If they are drug addicts they should be treated.

“Brent don’t give a damn. If it was in Wembley towers you wouldn’t see it. We’ve asked them to come down to Kilburn to take a look but they never come. Kilburn High Road is on the border of everywhere so it’s not essential.”

Clea added: “I’ve been living here a year and you see the odd beggar who the police move on, but people have been here for weeks. The Brent side of the road is so much worse than the Camden side. Brent needs to step up and help these people.”

On April 26, @MPSKilburn tweeted: “We’ve been made aware of a number of rough sleepers near #Brondesbury and #Kilburn stations. We’ve spoken to them and we are trying to help them with the difficult situation they are in.”

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