Council moves homeless mum-of-two in and out of six hotels in three months

The woman stayed at the Chiltern Hotel, Luton, for a short time
The woman stayed at the Chiltern Hotel, Luton, for a short time

A homeless mother-of-two has expressed her dismay after being moved to a sixth hotel in three months.

The woman, who cannot be named due to fears over her safety, was forced to move herself and her young children out of their Luton home this summer because of domestic abuse.

When her homelessness application was accepted by Luton Borough Council on August 27, she was given a room in the Holiday Inn by M1 J8 in Hemel Hempstead.

However after just a week she was told to up sticks and move to another hotel three miles away in Apsley.

Since then she has been put up at hotels in Dunstable, Luton and Stevenage– where her three-week stay was the longest residence since she was made homeless.

Last week the mother was moved on to another hotel in Hertfordshire.

She told the Luton News: “The council can’t give me a reason why I keep getting moved and usually I get less than a day’s notice.

“Last time I got told on the Friday afternoon that I was to be moved on Saturday.

“I’m forced to sit around and just wait for a phone call.

“The council really should have put me in a refuge as at least then I would be able to cook dinner, at the moment I am having to order takeaways every night.

“I haven’t even got a fridge in the room or any other simple things that I could rely on to feed the children.

“It has been disgusting how they have treated someone with two young kids.”

The exorbitant cost of the numerous hotel rooms has also alarmed the mother, who estimates that each night of her stay has cost an average of £100.

Over the 13 weeks of the woman’s homelessness this would work out at a total bill of £9,100.

She said: “They could have spent less getting a seven-bedroom house for us.

“Putting people like me up in a hotel is costing them an absolute fortune.

“A shared house or a refuge would have let me get my life back together.”

She added: “My homelessness application has been referred to other councils but I found out from my domestic abuse caseworker that Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council have been waiting for information from Luton since October 29.

“I said to my housing officer that they would be glad when I am homed somewhere else but there is so much more the council (LBC) could have done.”

Uncertainty over where she will be living week to week has also had a number of implications for the woman’s two children, both aged five and under.

She said: “My eldest son was supposed to start school in September but he couldn’t as we moved to a completely different area, we then kept getting moved.

“When I found out I would be in Stevenage I worked out how to get him into a school there but we were moved again, he has missed out on half a term already.

“For them it has been horrible and they are constantly fighting as they are so bored, we are stuck in one room and there is nothing we can do.”

Over the last year homelessness in Luton has hit a record high, as 1,169 people are currently without a home.

Of that number 151 are homeless because of the violent breakdown of a relationship.

A council report on the issue, which was discussed at a meeting last night, describes the matter as a ‘significant’ problem for the town.

A council spokesman said: “The Council is statutorily obliged to provide accommodation to certain classes of applicants who approach us as homeless. While we can’t talk about individual cases, we can confirm that if someone comes to us as homeless we will always help them to try and find somewhere to live.

“In certain circumstances, and depending on availability, some people may be entitled to emergency, temporary accommodation while we assess their homeless application. However due to the shortage of accommodation available in the town we simply are not in a position to offer any reassurances or any guarantee where this will be. Additionally, we often have to move households unfortunately because when we place in B&B the rooms are often only available for a window in time.

“Our priority is to secure accommodation which prevents a crisis for the homeless family while we can assess if we have an obligation to provide an offer of longer term accommodation.

“If we find that we do not have a duty to house them , we do ask them to leave the emergency accommodation. However, we will always work with them to explore their housing options and any housing benefits they may be entitled to. This is explained to them throughout the status of their application.”