Lauren from Harold Hill is a victim of domestic violence who has been living in a one bedroom apartment in Thurrock for nearly five years now despite having a toddler and a five year old child.
The mum of two, was renting as part of the private sector leasing in Harold Hill, when her landlord told her she had to move out.
Having no where to go, Lauren contacted the local council to find a home.
She told the Havering Daily ‘I moved to Abercrombie House in Harold Hill and from there was moved to a room in a Rainham hostel.
‘I stayed there for about four weeks until the council found me a property. They offered me a one bedroom flat in Thurrock, away from my area. My job was in Havering and all my family and friends were also in Harold Hill.
‘I was told that if I didn’t take the property then I would be making myself homeless, so I had no choice but to take the flat.’
Now four years on Lauren finds herself still in the one bedroom flat, a victim of domestic violence living in fear of her ex boyfriend and sleeping with her two children crammed into one small bedroom.
‘I was told to take this flat as I would only be here for a year and that it would be temporary. Everything that could go wrong with this flat has gone wrong’
‘My boiler nearly blew up, I’ve spent a year without heating. I got given a small fan heater to keep myself and my children warm.
‘The windows were very weak only single glazed and all needed to be replaced. I needed new locks. My ex boyfriend who I have a no molestation order out against discovered where I was living and started to sleep outside my property. I had to call the police and let my social worker know.
‘I can’t live like this. I had a recent Stability Review where my housing officer told me that my front room is a luxury and that if we can’t all fit in the bedroom to make the front room my bedroom. My five year old child is still sleeping in a toddler bed as I can’t fit a single bed in the room.
‘My social worker has been trying to help me as she clearly says I shouldn’t be living in a one bedroom flat. My ex knows where I am and he is very violent.
‘I have been told that this housing is not suitable for me and I keep pleading with them to move me and they won’t. It was supposed to be temporary but I’ve been here four years.
‘I’ve been told now I have to go to court if I want to move. I keep pleading with them but my housing officer is just so rude and unhelpful.’