Mum and her four children fleeing domestic abuse say they have been let down by the council over housing issues – The Wokingham Paper

A DOMESTIC abuse survivor with four children says they have been let down by the council over housing issues this Christmas something the council disputes.

Eleanor Tatham (not her real name) was pregnant when her family were moved into temporary accommodation provided by Wokingham Borough Council in July.

However, after an infestation of bed-bugs were found in their house, the family have been asked to temporarily move into a vacant property.

This coincided with Ms Tatham giving birth prematurely last month.

She said: I was rushed into hospital due to my placenta ripping away from my womb. The surgeons managed to thankfully save mine and my babys life.

Since I came out of hospital two-and-a-half weeks ago I was told I needed to rest up and recover.

The family claimed Wokingham Borough Council told them that the house they would move into would be entirely empty, without furniture, an oven or white goods.

I will have no choice but to stay with my four children in a house with absolutely nothing, no beds, no means of cooking meals. For us as it will literally be an empty house, said Ms Tatham.

I explained I had just had major surgery and I couldnt sleep on a hard floor and neither was I allowing my children to, said Ms Tatham.

[Wokingham Borough Council] said this wasnt their problem. Their job is to house us not furnish a property they couldnt care less.

You wouldnt treat an animal this way.

Ms Tatham added: To me, this isnt right at all, my children are suffering from this and [Wokingham Borough Council] dont seem to care about the effect this is taking on us all, she added. Its a nightmare.

But the council disputes the allegations made by Ms Tatham and pledge that it was doing its best to help them.

Sarah Hollamby, director of locality and customer services said: We are working with the family in this difficult time. The council always takes its duty of care towards our most vulnerable residents very seriously.

In this case, we were notified of the problem on Friday afternoon. We immediately offered the family other accommodation which was initially declined but then accepted on Monday.

Officers have been supporting the family and working with them to furnish the new accommodation as quickly as possible.

Due to the infestation of bed-bugs, the family were not allowed to take anything with them to their temporary home. This includes clothes and blankets. The only item they brought with them was a moses basket for the new-born baby.

Ms Hollamby said: We can confirm there were beds with bedding and a cooker in the property when the family moved in, and a fridge/freezer, washing machine and sofa will be delivered on Wednesday morning.

Ms Tatham said that her family support officer came to the property at 9.30pm on Monday to deliver beds to the family.

She added: I was told there wouldnt be a cooker here, but luckily there was one.

A lady from the council came around on Tuesday, she said it was inhumane we didnt have a fridge and that they would deliver one on Wednesday.

When we moved in, our family support officer told me that we wouldnt be able to return to our old house, and I wouldnt be allowed any of my clothes and stuff.

This really upset me. It turns out she shouldnt have said that as she wasnt qualified to, and we will be allowed back into the old house.

Were hoping maybe next week.

Ms Hollamby added: The case worker will continue to support the family while they are in our temporary accommodation, and they will be able to move back to their previous accommodation once the work is complete.

Ms Tatham and her children fled domestic violence in June. Since then, the family moved into bed and breakfasts, and a womans refuge in a nearby county. This will be their eighth move since the summer.

Ms Tatham says the continuous moving is taking its toll on the children.

They just want a normal life and a normal house, she said. It feels like theres no light at the end of the tunnel.

*Ms Tatham has had her name changed to protect her familys identity.

Mum and her four children fleeing domestic abuse say they have been let down by the council over housing issues - The Wokingham Paper

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