Family-of-five on Universal Credit to be thrown out of home due to unpaid rent

An expectant family of five living off benefits don’t know where to go, after being given a seven-day marching order to leave their home.

The family are being evicted from a house in Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, on Monday, February 7.

A judge ordered the parents, pregnant Amy Winter, 26, and Joshua Thain, 27, and their children to leave the property on Brunswick Street on January 31, after no rent was paid for several months.

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The pair, who lost the children’s grandmother to Covid last year, aged 45, say they made Barnsley Council aware of their situation months ago and claim the local authority hasn’t helped.

The parents, who each claim Universal Credit, have been living at the house with their children Skye, five, Daisy-Mae, four, and Lexi, 18 months, with another child on the way as Amy is currently five months pregnant.

Amy said: “It’s that bad we don’t go out or anything because we’re worried. I’ve asked my family if they can help, they can’t help with accommodation because they’re only living in one bed and two bedroom houses.

“The only person who is trying to help is my partner’s uncle but he lives down in Somerset.

Amy Winter with her partner Joshua Thain and children Daisy-Mae, Skye and Lexi

“I think Barnsley Council need to get off their backside and figure out what they’re going to do, instead of just telling us one thing and next thing a different thing.”

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Neither the parent’s names are on the tenancy agreement for the property, which is owned by Sanctuary Housing. They claim to have stayed there with late grandma Victoria Robertshaw, Joshua’s mother of her, to look after her whilst she was ill. The 45-year-old died after testing positive for Covid-19 in August.

Amy is also not pleased with Sanctuary Housing, alleging their officers were rude to her.

Amy said: “They [Sanctuary Housing] they were being rude about it, saying they would just put us on the streets. We’re just waiting for them to break down the door now. Barnsley Council has said ‘just keep your doors locked’.”

Barnsley Council says it’s offered advice around different housing options but Amy claims the only options offered would split-up the family.

Amy said: “I ain’t separating my family up after everything that’s gone on with Josh losing his mum, I said ‘I ain’t separating my family just because you want me to’.”

A spokesperson for Sanctuary Housing said: “On Monday January 31, an Outright Possession Order for this property was granted by a judge at court which asks the occupants to vacate it within 7 days. The proceedings related to significant rent arrears that have built up with no rent being paid for several months, despite our attempts to resolve the issue before going to court.

“We have been liaising with Barnsley Council to ensure the occupants can access alternative accommodation as soon as possible, so this property can then be offered to a family who are currently waiting on Barnsley’s housing list.”

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Barnsley Councilor Jenny Platts, Cabinet Spokesperson for Adults and Communities, said: “Our housing team are continuing to work with the couple and are offering them advice around their housing options and support to consider alternative accommodation.

“As part of this process, we have made inquiries into their current and previous housing situation, helping us explore all avenues of accommodation with them.

“Our housing team are available to offer support and help whether you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless, and they give you advice based on individual circumstances.

“We encourage anyone worried about their housing situation to get in touch with us as soon as possible to make us aware of your situation.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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