A London mum claims she was told to “wait outside in the freezing rain for six hours” when she turned to Lambeth Council for help after becoming homeless.
The anonymous woman, named Jane, spoke of her heartbreak – and claimed she had been told she could not be supported as she was not a British citizen.
The mother of two has been stalked by her abusive ex-partner after fleeing their home with their two daughters.
Jane left their six-year relationship after finding out he hadn’t paid rent for four years.
She suffered years of abuse due to the effects of his gambling, heavy drinking and lying, but he refused to go when she ended the relationship.
She told MyLondon he had become “aggressive” but police said there wasn’t much they could do to help.
“I called the police and they told him to leave, but they couldn’t stop him from coming back without a court order because he was on the lease,” she added.
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He continued to return several times, but she claims the police instead advised her to go to the council instead.
She claims when she asked the council for help, she was warned that the prolonged period of homelessness could result in her case being “transferred to social services”, meaning her children would “possibly” be taken away.
Recalling a visit to the church office, Jane continued, “We waited outside in the freezing rain with my two children for six hours because I didn’t have money to go anywhere and get coffee.
“They didn’t care. I asked the officer, “Please, can you just let us in because it’s cold and raining.”
However, she was reportedly turned down.
When she later heard from the council, she claimed they would not support her as she was not a British citizen, citing “what she experienced was not domestic abuse”.
She said the temporary housing she and her children were given was dirty, cold and dangerous.
“It was a horrible place with only two mattresses, no sheets or blankets, in the dead of winter when it was freezing cold,” added Jane.
“Because I didn’t have any money to buy some stuff, I just went out on the street and asked a lady passing by to help me buy a blanket or something just to cover us up.”
A Lambeth Council spokesman said: “We apologize that the initial assessment was not good enough and staff training has been arranged to ensure this does not happen again.
“We are also introducing a personal service for vulnerable applicants, including victims of domestic violence, as we recognize it is vital for them to have a safe place to stay pending assessment.
“We have reviewed our domestic violence in housing policy with colleagues from our Violence Against Women and Girls program and are committed to gaining Housing Alliance accreditation for domestic violence to ensure we do our best to support victims of to support domestic violence.”
The statement went on to say that improving safety for women and girls is “a key priority” for the council.
“In developing Lambeth’s updated strategy to combat violence against women and girls, we worked with people with previous experience and experts in the field,” the spokesperson added.
“But we know there’s still work to be done, particularly in terms of the impact of the district’s housing shortage.”
The Metropolitan Police were unable to comment on a request from Metro.co.uk.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/24/london-mum-threatened-with-social-services-after-becoming-homeless-18337822/ London mum 'threatened with welfare payments after becoming homeless'