‘I can’t give up my dogs for a home’
A man living in a tent in a Luton cemetery claims the council is leaving him out in the cold.
Gavin Lockyer, aged 35, has been homeless since he says he was forced to leave his family home at the age of 14.
Since then his main companion has been his white German shepherd dog, which he has had since it was a six-week-old pup.
He had been staying with a girlfriend but says he was forced to leave her council home when Luton Borough Council officials told him he could not keep his 14-year-old pet, and two others he has acquired.
“The council told me to get rid of my dogs and they’ll provide me a bed and breakfast but that’s all they offered me”, he said.
The dogs, who are well conditioned and house trained, are a huge part of Gavin’s life, and he said: “All I want is to keep my dogs and my girlfriend and settle down.”
Home for the past three months has been a tent in Rothesay Road cemetery. He bathes using the water facilities at the graveyard and he and his three dogs are a familiar sight around Luton town centre.
He had hoped to settle in a flat in Upper George Street where he claims other residents have been allowed to keep pets, but he says he was told he could not keep the dogs there.
“It’s been one thing after another,” he said. “The council don’t seem to be bothered and I just want to give up on them.”
Gavin added council benefits would entitle him to £475 rent per month but prospective landlords would not accept his dogs and he was not willing to give them up.
“They just make it really hard work,” he said.
Luton Borough Council state that they “do not have a statutory duty to secure accommodation for an individual, if they are assessed as not being a priority need”.
But they said they do have an “effective housing solution service, which provides advice and assistance and is open every day between 9am and 5pm in the Town Hall”.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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